Tuesday was rewards day for some of the men who helped turn the Chicago Blackhawks into a championship team on and off the ice.
The Stanley Cup champions announced the promotions of Stan Bowman to Vice President/General Manager, Jay Blunk to Executive Vice President, Kevin Cheveldayoff to Assistant General Manager/Senior Director of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac to Vice President/Assistant to the President and Chris Werner to Vice President of Ticket Operations and Customer Service.
"It is with great pride that the Blackhawks make this announcement today," Hawks President John McDonough said in a statement. "Stan, Jay, Kevin, Al and Chris have worked hard to build a strong and cohesive operation. They have been instrumental in maintaining a unified relationship between the hockey and business operations of our franchise."
Bowman, 37, became the youngest GM in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on June 9, accomplishing the feat at 36 years, 11 months and 12 days, during his first year on the job. Bowman was named the ninth General Manager in franchise history on July 14, 2009, and will be entering his 10th year with the organization in 2010-11.
Bowman previously has served as the team's Assistant General Manager, Hockey Operations (2007-09), Director of Hockey Operations (2005-07) and Special Assistant to the General Manager (2001-05). He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1995 and joined the Blackhawks in 2001. Bowman was born in Montreal where his father, Hall of Famer and Blackhawks Senior Advisor Scotty Bowman, was coaching at the time.
Blunk, 47, is entering his fourth season with the Blackhawks after spending the previous 22 years in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. Under his business leadership, the Blackhawks have sold out their last 102 game and have led the NHL in average attendance in each of the last two seasons. The franchise's season ticket base has risen to more than 14,000, and merchandise sales have increased by 317 percent. The Blackhawks became one of professional sports' biggest success stories, in what Forbes.com dubbed "arguably the most remarkable turnaround in the history of sports in the United States."
Blunk has also worked to secure new broadcast partners Chicago's WGN Radio 720 and WGN-TV, developed Blackhawks TV and has overseen new concepts such as the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival.
Cheveldayoff, 40, was named Assistant GM on Aug. 3, 2009, after spending the previous 12 seasons as general manger of the AHL's Chicago Wolves. The 2010 Stanley Cup marked the seventh league championship team he has been a part of during his 16-year management career, which includes guiding the Wolves to the 2008 and 2002 Calder Cups (AHL) and 2000 and 1998 Turner Cups (International Hockey League). The Blaine Lake, Sask., native also captured two Turner Cups in three seasons as the Assistant Vice President of Hockey Operations and assistant coach for the IHL's Denver and Utah Grizzlies (1995 and 1996).
Cheveldayoff was originally drafted by the New York Islanders with their first pick (No. 16) in the 1988 Entry Draft. A knee injury cut short his career after five seasons.
MacIsaac, 42, will be entering 11th year as a member of the hockey operations department, which includes spending the last two seasons as Senior Director of Hockey Administration/Assistant to the President. The Antigonish, N.S., native has also served as Director of Player Evaluation (2008), GM of the AHL's Rockford IceHogs (2007-08) and GM of the AHL's Norfolk Admirals (2000-07).
Including the 2010 Stanley Cup, MacIsaac has now captured five league championships during his hockey career, including three as a player -- he won the Memorial Cup with Guelph in 1986 and was part of championship teams with Hampton Roads in the ECHL in 1992 and Cape Breton in the AHL a year later. He began his hockey operations career when was appointed as the Assistant GM with Hampton Roads in 1994 and was promoted to GM of Hockey Operations in 1996 before helping the Admirals capture the 1998 Kelly Cup.
Werner, 44, is entering his third season with the Blackhawks and has worked with Blunk to revamp the organization's ticket sales and service staff while implementing new business strategies to reach multiple platforms.