Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said Tuesday the front office was told during a team trip last week about Corey Perry committing possible misconduct, which led to an internal investigation culminating with the organization cutting ties with the veteran winger. Davidson spoke with reporters for 10 minutes to address the team’s decision to move on from Perry after the Blackhawks announced earlier in the day that they placed the 38-year-old on unconditional waivers for the purposes of terminating his contract.
In their initial statement, the Blackhawks alleged Perry engaged in conduct they described as “unacceptable,” saying it was in violation of both the terms of his contract and the team’s internal policies that are “intended to promote professional and safe work environments.” They did not detail what allegedly happened. Upon being asked if the incident itself was criminal or could potentially become criminal, Davidson said: “It was a workplace matter.” Davidson said the NHL and the NHLPA were aware of what’s happening before noting it was “a team incident and so it was a team decision.”
Davidson said the team was first notified of the allegations last week when the Blackhawks were in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday to play the Blue Jackets. Sources told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan that Perry indeed traveled with the team to Columbus last Tuesday, a day before the game, and an incident occurred that day involving a team employee. Davidson said Perry, who did not play in the team’s 7-3 loss, was “immediately pulled” from the game once the Blackhawks were notified, and at that point, the club began an investigation.
Asked for how Perry responded to the team’s decision, Davidson declined to get into the details of his discussion with him. Davidson said he did speak with the team earlier in the day to inform it of the Blackhawks’ decision to place Perry on waivers. He also said the players have no knowledge or any details of the incident. Perry’s status with the Blackhawks had been in question. His most recent game came Nov. 19 in a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres that saw Perry finish with zero points — the last game the Blackhawks played before Davidson said they first learned about the allegations.
Perry had initially taken a leave of absence from the team, with Davidson telling reporters on Saturday the decision to send him away from the team was made by management. Perry’s agent, Pat Morris, said in a statement that same day that it was Perry’s decision to leave the Blackhawks. The questions around Perry’s absence eventually led to social media speculation over the past few days that the incident itself may have involved the family member of a Blackhawks player. Davidson addressed those rumors in his opening statement. He said the incident did not involve any players or their family members.