Chicago Blackhawks hire interim general manager Kyle Davidson to be team's permanent GM

The Chicago Blackhawks are sticking with Kyle Davidson.

In a Tuesday announcement, the Blackhawks officially named Davidson as the 10th general manager in franchise history. He had worn the interim GM tag since Oct. 26, when former GM and president of hockey operations Stan Bowman resigned after the results of an independent investigation into the club's handling of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich were made public.

Davidson, 33, was one of several candidates Chicago considered for the permanent GM position, which came down to three finalists in Davidson, Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Chicago Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg.

Also in the running were St. Louis Blues vice president of hockey operations Peter Chiarelli, former Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby, Toronto Raptors vice president Teresa Resch and Carolina Hurricanes assistant GM Eric Tulsky.

The Blackhawks had pledged to be thorough and transparent in their search, looking inside and outside the hockey sphere for their next leader. Ultimately, it was Davidson who won them over.

CEO Danny Wirtz said that in searching for candidates inside and outside of hockey, "what we learned is that 'outside the box' did not have to be synonymous with 'outside these walls.' And time of service in the NHL is not the only qualification for being a general manager in this league. Kyle has everything we were looking for."

The Ottawa, Ontario, native started with the Blackhawks in 2010 as a 22-year-old intern and video analyst. Over the next decade, Davidson worked under and learned from Bowman while his own responsibilities increased. In 2018, Davidson was named assistant to the general manager, and the following year, he was named assistant general manager.

After several months now of getting used to the GM role, Davidson will begin the long road toward rebuilding the Blackhawks. While Davidson wasn't the most experienced potential hire Chicago met with, he is a known commodity to the organization, has a strong relationship with CEO Danny Wirtz and has an understanding of where the franchise is trying to go.

The hurdles ahead for Davidson will be many, starting with how he's going to convince Chicago's beleaguered fanbase that he can turn things around. The allegations by Kyle Beach against Aldrich left a black mark on the franchise not soon to be forgotten, and the team's on-ice play has been poor (Chicago is 19-27-8 this season, 25th overall in the league).

Davidson's first task will be guiding Chicago through the NHL's March 21 trade deadline. Davidson said the Blackhawks, at 19-27-8 with just 46 points headed into Tuesday's action, are "a long way from where we need to be as a team," and signaled that Chicago is entering a rebuilding phase.

"We're going to look at more of a rebuild here," he said. "There are some things that we need to fix that are going to take time. Whether it's three, five years, I don't have an answer for that now. But we have to do this the right way."

That direction could have a significant impact on the futures of franchise icons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who become unrestricted free agents after the 2022-23 season and have full no-movement clauses in their contracts.

"Jonathan and Patrick are extremely important pieces to the organizations," he said. "They're definitely going to be brought into the loop. There won't be any surprises on their end on what we plan on doing with the organization."

Davidson also said interim coach Derek King has done a "fantastic job" since taking over for Jeremy Colliton in November.

"He's getting a firsthand practical interview, just like I got in my role. So that's an advantage," he said, adding that being "an elite communicator" will be paramount for whoever the team's next coach ends up being.

Off the ice, Davidson said he's committed to creating a positive culture throughout the organization.

"I promise to ensure that respect, dignity and professionalism are reflected in everything we do," he said.

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski contributed to this report.