Sources tell Daily Faceoff the Blackhawks have hired well-known pro sports consultant Mike Forde from Sportsology to a year-long contract to assess and analyze the team’s current hockey operations structure and how it stacks up compared to the best-in-class practices from organizations across other sports.
Forde has been dubbed the NBA’s “GM kingmaker” and has been involved in numerous high-profile candidate searches. Forde is a former Premier League executive with Chelsea. While he has worked with the parent companies of other NHL clubs, including the Devils and Capitals. This deep dive on the Blackhawks is expected to be Forde’s first into the NHL.
The second part of the process is also already underway, which involves the Blackhawks doing their own due diligence with other major professional sports franchises. Led by CEO Danny Wirtz and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner, the Blackhawks have been in conversation with C-Suite executives from other franchises to pick their brain on front office structure, composition and other important ingredients.
Sources say the Blackhawks’ brain trust recently met with Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and former Seattle Mariners assistant GM Joe Bohringer to gather thoughts on what may turn out to be an ‘outside the box’ hiring process for hockey.
Little by little the Blackhawks are getting themselves back on the right track. The Hawks ownership reached a settlement with Kyle Beach yesterday which was an important first step towards a better future. The Blackhawks have also started playing really solid hockey. Now there's news that they are taking proper steps find the next head of hockey operations who can do the rebuild in earnest.
When we interviewed Danny Wirtz last August from the Playoff Bubble I asked him if he had hired a headhunter for the President search and if he had sought outside advice from the hockey community. Now he has done those things. I've never heard of this Mike Forde "the NBA GM Kingmaker", but that is quite the title and he has a big time resume across multiple leagues. I like that they're using a guy with experience and fresh eyes even if it isn't necessarily from the hockey world. Also at least a little funny that they're talking to the Cubs and a former Mariners GM...supposedly about an "outside the box hire".
The term "outside the box" scares me. Like...this is not the time to make a splash. Just find the best and most qualified person available from the job. I don't care if you have to go to Japan to find the right person, but you have to have a strong and qualified hockey person. Putting a pencil pusher from Ernst and Young in the GM role is how we got in this position to begin with. If you want a head of hockey ops that is in charge of managing the department and that person is outside the box, then fine. When you're hiring a hockey roster decision-maker...hire someone who has shown they know how to make good evaluations. Don't fuck around and try to grab headlines. I want the most boring, smartest, insightful, hockey evaluator in that job. Start winning and building and then you will gain credibility as a franchise again and you have leash to do anything. That's how it works.
This is a dead time in Chicago sports, but we had a good time talking about the WSD experience on Redline Radio this week. New ep is live below