Ever since the unceremonious departure of Stan Bowman, it was clear that exhaustive changes were coming to the Blackhawks organization. Kyle Davidson was, of course, eventually named General Manager and Jeff Greenberg and Norm Maciver as Associate General Managers. With the hiring of Jeff Greenberg, it seems that the Blackhawks are preparing to launch into the future of the NHL by introducing advanced sabremetrics and data analysis due to Greenberg's background. With more front office announcements on Wednesday, it seems they are continuing to step into the 21st Century of the NHL.
First it was announced that former NHL player, Mark Eaton, is retaining his position of Assistant General Manager where he has been overseeing player personnel and development at the AHL level with the Rockford Icehogs.
Second, Meghan Hunter, who has been with the organization since 2016 and has served in various scouting and hockey operations roles, was promoted and given the title of Assistant General Manager where, per the Blackhawks official press release, "she will oversee budgeting, team services, contract execution, team security and player services." She has an abundance of hockey experience as well having played at a high level at the University of Wisconsin, one year even being a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award (basically MVP).
In addition to Hunter, Karilyn Pilch, who joined the team in 2021, has been promoted to Director of Player Personnel to help oversee scouting. She also comes with plenty of experience as she played collegiately at Boston College, then took a Director of Hockey Operations position there upon graduating, then was assigned the General Manager role for the Boston Pride of the Premier Hockey Foundation.
Former Blackhawk, Brian Campbell maintained his position of Hockey Operations Advisor and shockingly, Scotty Bowman, all-time NHL coaching great and father of the disgraced Stan Bowman, has elected to continue his role as an advisor to the team.
Though there are some interesting comments that could be made regarding the Scotty Bowman retention, I want to focus on Hunter and Pilch.
I mentioned in the opening how the Blackhawks are launching themselves forward into the 21st Century of the NHL. Having two women rising the ranks of your organization, one being an Assistant General Manager, is a significant step for the team. In a world where the political landscape continues to emphasize the importance of inclusion and the emphasis of capable individuals from marginalized groups, it is important the Blackhawks take part in this movement. This doesn't even include the fact that Jaime Faulkner is the President of Business Operations.
It might be easy to look at these developments and say the Blackhawks are simply doing this to make up for the sins of the past regime. Or maybe this is like a Band-Aid that you slap on to cover up the wound and stop the bleeding or bad press. Maybe. Maybe you can look at it like that. But I am hopeful that these moves are moves made in earnest by Kyle Davidson wanting the best and brightest at his disposal to make the Blackhawks a successful product moving forward. Hunter and Pilch fit the criteria he wanted and they deserve the promotions.
One final note about the significance of this: the NHL is frequently discussed (more so in America than in Canada) as a sport that needs more attention to gain more fans. This year has helped with the new television deals and exposure on TNT and ESPN as viewership numbers are through the roof. But for the Blackhawks specifically, maybe having more women in the front office will be that representation that some people need to be more invested in the team. Maybe more girls will pursue hockey and hockey management positions as a result. The point is, it can't hurt, it can only help.
I for one am very pleased with the hirings and look forward to see the Blackhawks of the future.