Jay Blunk, Pete Hassen’s departures headline another Blackhawks front office shakeupBen Popeon September 2, 2021 at 9:00 pm

The Blackhawks’ front office quietly experienced another shakeup this summer.

Jay Blunk, formerly the executive vice president, and Pete Hassen, formerly the vice president of marketing, headline a lengthy list of departures.

Blunk, who jumped from the Cubs to Hawks in 2008, had operated closely with former president John McDonough until McDonough’s sudden firing last year. Hassen had worked with the Hawks since 2005.

Blunk and Hassen join Norm Maciver, who left for the Seattle Kraken in January, atop the list of executives who exited the Hawks in 2021.

Two former employees connected to the 2010 Bradley Aldrich sexual assault scandal — mental skills coach James Gary and vice president of human relations Marie Sutera — are no longer listed in the Hawks’ front office directory, either.

Gary was the first person the Hawks player Aldrich allegedly assaulted went to in May 2010 for advice, but Gary convinced the player the assault was his own fault, according to a lawsuit. Three years later, Sutera told police investigating Aldrich’s assault of a Michigan high school student that they’d need a search warrant or subpoena to gain information about Aldrich’s departure from the Hawks, according to police documents.

But the Hawks have also hired dozens of new employees this summer. New manager of hockey strategy Dominik Zrim, who previously founded the popular NHL contract-tracking website Capfriendly, and new TV studio analyst Colby Cohen are among the most public-facing of those.

The Hawks’ hiring spree — which has taken on a forward-looking focus during business president Jaime Faulkner’s first year — will continue in the coming months. Searches for new vice presidents of revenue and of marketing and content are underway.

“Our new leadership has implemented operational and leadership changes within the front office that reflect the Blackhawks’ vision for the future and the required skillsets to best implement those plans,” the team said in a statement.

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