An emotional Kyle Davidson addresses Blackhawks’ decision to waive Corey Perry for ‘unacceptable’ conduct

CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks waived veteran forward Corey Perry on Tuesday because of undisclosed misconduct, the team said.

“After an internal investigation, the Chicago Blackhawks have determined that Corey Perry has engaged in conduct that is unacceptable, and in violation of both the terms of his Standard Player’s Contract and the Blackhawks’ internal policies intended to promote professional and safe work environments,” a team statement said. “As such, Corey Perry has been placed on unconditional waivers. In the event Mr. Perry clears waivers, we intend to terminate his contract effective immediately.”

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon to address the situation, general manager Kyle Davidson called it a “workplace matter” but declined to divulge whether it involved a team employee.

“I want to start off by reiterating the organization is committed to a culture of accountability and upholding our values across our employees and players both on and off the ice,” Davidson said. “Last week, management was notified of possible misconduct by Corey Perry. We immediately pulled him from the (Nov. 22) game (in Columbus) and conducted an internal investigation.

“Upon learning the findings of the investigation, we made the decision to terminate his contract. As this is an individual personnel matter, I will not be able to disclose any details related to the initial reporting, investigation or the findings. However, I do want to be very clear on this one point: This does not involve any players or their families, and anything that suggests otherwise, or anyone that suggests otherwise, is wildly inaccurate, and frankly it’s disgusting.”

Davidson became emotional several times during his address.

“It’s obviously been very tough,” he said. “Yeah, it’s been a tough couple of days.”

The Hawks traded with the Tampa Bay Lightning in June to acquire the 38-year-old Perry — in part for his veteran leadership and potential mentorship of young players such as Connor Bedard — and he agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract.

After he practiced with the team Nov. 21 at Fifth Third Arena, Perry was a surprise healthy scratch the next day for the road game against the Blue Jackets and remained away from the team for the next two games.

Davidson said Saturday that Perry would be away from the team for the foreseeable future.

“It’s been a team decision so far to hold him out, and that’s about all I’m able to provide,” Davidson said, according to the Associated Press.

Perry’s agent, Pat Morris, said in a statement Saturday that the forward had stepped away from the team “to attend to personal matters.”

Davidson said Tuesday that the Hawks were notified of an allegation about Perry during the team’s stay in Columbus, but the GM wouldn’t give specifics.

The Hawks implemented new workplace procedures for players and staff after an independent report in 2021 found that management covered up Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. Davidson said the new reporting process came into play with the Perry situation, though he didn’t elaborate in what way.

“I believe so, yes,” he said. “We went through the process as quickly as we could in order to run a responsible investigation.”

Davidson said the league and NHL Players’ Association were notified and were “understanding of the situation.” He said he talked to Hawks players earlier Tuesday, but “the players do not have any details at all.”

Davidson declined to discuss Perry’s response regarding the team’s plan to terminate his contract: “I’m not going to get into the details of our conversation.”

The absence of details has led to rampant speculation about what led to such a sudden parting of ways.

Team sources reached out to the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday morning to refute speculation on social media about reasons for Perry’s departure, and Davidson addressed it again in the afternoon.

“To be honest, over the last 24 hours, what’s gone on has been very disturbing and I feel like I’m wearing it. I’m carrying that,” Davidson said before pausing to gather himself. “Um, it’s just tough to see. Yeah, it’s tough to see.”

Perry recorded four goals and five assists in 16 games for the Hawks, his fifth NHL team in 19 seasons.

Davidson said the information he learned about Perry from the investigation, “it didn’t mesh with the background we received” from other teams.

Before the investigation was announced publicly, coach Luke Richardson said Sunday that the Hawks would miss Perry and Taylor Hall, who is expected to miss the rest of the season after knee surgery.

“They’re definitely big losses, but Nick (Foligno) has been great for us this year and we knew that,” Richardson said.