By Thomas Gibbons
The Blackhawks dismissal of now former President and CEO John McDonough came as a shock and during an unlikely time. Owner Rocky Wirtz confirmed with Scott Powers just a month ago everyone’s job, McDonough, Stan Bowman, and coach Jeremy Colliton’s jobs were safe.
So what changed?
From Scott Powers of the Athletic:
There is internal speculation that the decision to fire McDonough had more to do with business decisions than hockey ones, and there may be no upcoming changes in hockey operations because of that. It’s one thing for Wirtz to change his mind on supporting McDonough after stating he had full confidence in him last month, but it’d be another if he also turned on everyone else he said would be returning next season. The next team president may have the final call on Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton’s fates, but both appear to be secure in their jobs right now.
Powers also mentioned that a source told him tensions were growing between McDonough and Danny Wirtz, who has taken a more vocal role in the organization.
Im my opinion, the timing was the weirdest part of this decision. For their United Center counterpart, the Chicago Bulls were already doing their homework during the season about replacing John Paxson and Gar Forman in the front office. We were told that Blackhawks management was safe until days ago.
The biggest question going into the hiring of the next President of the Blackhawks will be if the hockey operations/business aspect of the job be split. McDonough joined the Blackhawks from the Chicago Cubs in 2007, he brought over business and marketing expertise the Blackhawks desperately needed. He was not this hockey guy who had a say in all the roster and draft decisions. Will the new guy have a role like McDonough or will it be a “hockey guy” and preside over all roster decisions.
The short list of potential candidates for the job includes Blackhawks alum Eddie Olczyk, Doug Wilson, and Chris Chelios and outside candidates like Bill Zito and Ron Hextall. The Blackhawks could promote from within and promote Al MacIssac or Jay Blunk.