Former Blackhawks' Corey Perry meets with NHL commissioner, able to sign with teams: report

Former Blackhawks' Corey Perry meets with NHL commissioner, able to sign with teams: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Back in November, the Blackhawks announced they planned to terminate center Corey Perry's contract after discovering "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," according to the team.

Perry met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, per the former's request. Reports surfaced after about his eligibility to sign with another team in free agency, according to a new report from Elliotte Friedman. For clarity, Perry didn't necessarily need a green light from the NHL to sign with another team, as Bettman and the league never barred him from doing such, according to Pierre LeBrun.

On Nov. 28, following the Blackhawks' announcement to place Perry on waivers before terminating his contract, general manager Kyle Davidson spoke with the media about the incident. He did not delve into the details about the incident that warranted his release.

"First and foremost, I want to start off by reiterating that the organization is committed to a culture of accountability," Davidson said. "Last week, management was notified of possible misconduct by Corey Perry. We pulled him from the game and conducted an internal investigation. Upon learning the findings of that investigation, we made the decision to terminate his contract. I will not be able to disclose any details."

Davidson also dismissed online rumors about Perry's conduct, saying it did not have anything to do with another one of his teammates.

"I do want to be very clear: this does not involve any players or their families, and anything that suggests otherwise is wildly inaccurate, and frankly, it’s disgusting," he said.

Davidson was asked if the matter involved law enforcement and emphasized that it was a "workplace matter" while declining to offer further details.

Perry had been scratched from the team's lineup in Columbus on Nov. 22, with Davidson saying the team learned of the allegations while the club was in Ohio. He said the investigation began immediately and culminated on Nov. 28 with the decision to terminate Perry's contract.

Davidson said that the rapidly evolving investigation shows the organization's commitment to accountability.

"I think more than anything, it reinforces the resolve that we have to change the culture and make sure we’re doing the right things and upholding our values and making sure that we continue to build a culture of accountability," he said.

Davidson said the team had been informed of the decision, but they were not made aware of details involving the allegations against Perry.

"They just kind of listened," he said of the meeting.

Davidson said that the NHL and the NHL Players' Association had been kept up-to-date with the progress of the investigation, and was informed of the team's decision before it was announced Tuesday. The NHL Players' Association reviewed the contract termination but never pushed back against it.

A visibly emotional Davidson said that he had been struggling with the fallout from the allegations, but said that it reinforced his resolve to continue improving the organization's culture.

"I think it’s so fresh that we’ll get through today, and we’ll always evaluate," he said. "It goes without saying, after something comes up, you’re always trying to get better. I don’t see why that wouldn’t be the case. We’re always looking to be better than we were the day before."

Following his termination, Perry released a statement apologizing for the incident and admitting his struggles with alcohol. He mentioned he had already started working with specialists to address his mental health and substance abuse. Here's the full statement.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to the entire Chicago Blackhawks organization, including ownership, management, coaches, trainers, employees, and my teammates. I would also like to apologize to my fans, and my family.

“I am embarrassed and I have let you all down. As a result of my actions, there has been speculation and rumors. I am sickened by the impact this has had on others, and I want to make it clear that in no way did this situation involve any of my teammates or their families.

“Most importantly, I want to directly apologize to those who have been negatively affected and I am sorry for the additional impact to others it has created. My behavior was inappropriate and wrong.

“I have started working with experts in the mental health and substance abuse fields to discuss my struggles with alcohol and I will take whatever steps necessary to ensure this never happens again. I hope to regain the trust and respect of everyone who has believed in me throughout my career.

“Once again, I am deeply sorry.


Perry, 38, is back on the free agent market, looking to play for his sixth career team. He played 16 games for the Blackhawks in 2023, scoring four goals and earning five assists to collect nine points.

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