The Chicago Blackhawks today announced a new structure for its executive leadership team, naming Danny Wirtz as Chief Executive Officer, hiring Jaime Faulkner as President of Business Operations, and elevating Stan Bowman to President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.
“The sports world pivoted on its axis on March 11, the evening the Chicago Blackhawks played the San Jose Sharks at the United Center. We said then that the next home game at the United Center would not look anything like the last home game and the ensuing eight months have proven that out. The play stoppage provided us the ability to look into the windshield and recognize that whatever the future held, it would require an entire new look at how we play and host this great game. It was evident that it would require change. Since then, we have taken the steps and made those changes to put the pieces into place that will bring a new mindset and culture to the Chicago Blackhawks, that will lead us into the future,” said Rocky Wirtz, Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks.
“When Danny Wirtz agreed to serve as our Interim President last Spring, he set into motion a strategy, structure and plan that today, is one that all Blackhawks fans will be proud of. Today, I am both pleased and proud to name Danny to the role of Chief Executive Office of the Chicago Blackhawks. His accomplishments over the past eight months have set the stage for a bright future, beginning with a new vision and countless hours of planning to back it up. No easy task. The fans, and the Wirtz family alike, can be very excited about what lies ahead,” added Rocky Wirtz.
While serving as Interim President since April, Danny Wirtz led an in-depth process to set the organization’s long-term vision for the future: “to reimagine the potential of hockey.” In his role as CEO, Danny Wirtz will carry on the franchise’s commitment to this vision, liaise with ownership and other Wirtz family businesses, and oversee operations of the team’s Finance and Human Resources departments and the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. Additionally, as an executive with the Wirtz Corporation, Danny will retain his position as Vice-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage and on the company’s Board of Managers.
Danny Wirtz will continue to serve as an Alternate Governor to maintain the team’s relationship with the National Hockey League and as a representative of the United Center Joint Venture to advance the arena’s interests. Both Faulkner and Bowman will report directly to Danny Wirtz, ensuring the synergistic relationship between Hockey Operations and Business Operations will continue to thrive within the organization.
“Serving in this role allows me to steward the organization for the Wirtz family and ensure that it continues to grow as a key piece of our multi-generational business,” Danny Wirtz said. “We believe in ownership operating at the right altitude and empowering the right operators to execute the vision we have for the Blackhawks. Structure is always meant to evolve, and this is the right structure for the Blackhawks as we enter this next era of Blackhawks hockey on and off the ice.”
Faulkner brings a unique blend of professional experience in sports and entertainment with a focus on analytics and emerging technology to the Blackhawks. In her role, she will focus on advancing the fan experience and business model while generating new revenue through her oversight of strategy and operations across corporate partnerships, ticketing and customer relations, and integrated marketing communications. A value creator for the business, Faulkner will work with a mindset to drive financial performance and drive big picture projects for the Blackhawks. Along with Danny Wirtz, Faulkner will represent the Blackhawks as an Alternate Governor for National Hockey League matters.
Faulkner helped found E15 in 2013, an industry-leading consulting strategy and analytics company for Compass Group, and served as CEO for seven years. At E15, she worked with over 200 clients including Fortune 500 companies, pro sports teams, resorts and entertainment entities to develop systems that predicted fan behavior, automated concessions and increased revenues of team venues. Faulkner was named one of Sports Business Journal’s Women Game Changers in Sports in 2015 and named to SBJ’s 40 Under 40 list in 2016. Prior to founding E15, Faulkner spent time at KPMG, LLC and Arthur Andersen. She is a graduate of Baylor University.
Bowman enters his 19th season with the Blackhawks in 2020-21 and spent the previous five seasons as Senior Vice President/General Manager. In his elevated role, Bowman will continue to serve as General Manager and oversee all aspects of Hockey Operations. Bowman is the first NHL General Manager to win three Stanley Cup Championships in the salary cap era.
During his time running hockey operations, Bowman has secured the team’s core talent through long-term contract extensions, rebuilt prospect depth in the organization through multiple draft classes and developed an analytics program within hockey operations that has enhanced in-game strategy and scouting operations. Bowman is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
“Jaime and Stan bring a modern leadership style that embodies the approach needed to evolve in these dynamic times, continuing to elevate the Blackhawks to elite levels on and off the ice,” Danny Wirtz said. “I look forward to partnering with them and watching them work together with our on and off ice teams to achieve our collective goals. Both with backgrounds in data and analytics, Jaime and Stan are a dynamic duo whose partnership will trickle down to everything in our organization from on-ice hockey strategy to the fan experience at the United Center and beyond.”
With this announcement on the leadership structure, Executive Vice President, Jay Blunk will report to Jaime Faulkner. In addition, Senior Vice President, Hockey Operations Al MacIsaac will report to directly to Stan Bowman. An updated front office directory can be found here with bio information.
STATEMENT FROM JAIME FAULKNER
“I am excited for the opportunity take the iconic franchise of the Chicago Blackhawks—rich with a historic past and strong foundation in Chicago and beyond—to the next level and help write a new chapter for the Blackhawks and our fans. I appreciate the support of Rocky and Danny and look forward to furthering their vision. Partnering with Stan, we will craft a best-in-class product and experience on and off the ice of which our fans can be proud.”
STATEMENT FROM STAN BOWMAN
“This is a special day for the Blackhawks organization and shows the bright future ahead for the team. I would like to thank Rocky and Danny Wirtz for their continued support and the opportunity to serve in this new role. Their leadership in developing the new organizational structure has set the stage for sustained success in the coming years.
I look forward to partnering with Jaime in the coming years. I enjoyed our conversations as a part of her interview process and I’m eager to learn from her as we collaborate on new initiatives. Jaime brings fresh ideas coupled with an analytical view of the industry. This new perspective will prove valuable as we shape the future vision of the Blackhawks.”