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Blackhawks announce five executive promotions

by Chicago Blackhawks / Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today 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,” Team President John McDonough said. “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 General Manager in National Hockey League history to win a Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on June 9, 2010, accomplishing the feat at 36 years, 11 months and 12 days, during his first year in the position. 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 arrived at the Blackhawks in 2001. Bowman was born in Montreal where his father, legendary National Hockey League fixture 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. He has engineered broad changes to the business landscape of the Blackhawks, adopting the general business philosophy of fan accessibility and bold, innovative strategies. Under his business leadership, the Blackhawks have entertained 102 consecutive capacity crowds and have led the National Hockey League in average attendance for each of the last two seasons. In addition, 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 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. In addition, Blunk also developed first-of-their-kind cross-promotional partnerships with both the Cubs and Chicago White Sox, as well as a wealth of other civic organizations, which built the foundation for a 12-month-a-year marketing strategy.

Cheveldayoff, 40, was named Assistant General Manager for the Blackhawks on August 3, 2009 after spending the previous 12 seasons as General Manger of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. The 2010 Stanley Cup marked the seventh league championship 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, Saskatchewan, 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, 16th overall, in the 1988 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He began his career in the AHL with the Capital District Islanders, serving as the alternate captain from 1991 to 1993. Cheveldayoff held the same role with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1993-94, earning the team’s unsung hero award after racking up a career-high 216 penalty minutes in 73 games. Known as a defensive defenseman during his playing days, a knee injury cut his professional career short after five seasons.

MacIsaac, 42, will be entering 11th year as a member of the Blackhawks Hockey Operations Department, which includes spending the last two seasons as Senior Director of Hockey Administration/Assistant to the President. The Antigonish, Nova Scotia, native has also served as Director of Player Evaluation (2008), General Manager of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs (2007-08) and General Manager of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals (2000-2007).

Including the 2010 Stanley Cup, MacIsaac has now captured five league championships during his hockey career, which includes three as a player at different levels. He won the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup in 1986 with the Guelph Platers, the ECHL’s Riley Cup in 1992 with the Hampton Roads Admirals and the AHL’s Calder Cup in 1993 with the Cape Breton Oilers. Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft (232nd overall), MacIsaac began his hockey operations career when was appointed as the Assistant General Manager of the ECHL’s Hampton Road Admirals in 1994. He was promoted to General Manager 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. He arrived at the Blackhawks in 2008 after 12 years of service at Ticketmaster Chicago, most recently in the position of Senior General Manager. He also has high-level experience with venue management for organizations including Ogden Entertainment Services and Navy Pier.
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