Blackhawks GM resigns; team is fined following sexual assault probe

According to an investigation by the franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks failed to address allegations that an assistant coach had sexually assaulted a player in 2010 during their Stanley Cup run. This was a scandalous episode that has cast a shadow on the NHL.

Blackhawks GM resigns; team is fined following sexual assault probe

Stan Bowman, Chicago's general manger and president of hockey operations, resigned Tuesday following the findings of an outside law firm. The NHL also fined $2 million to the team for "the organization’s inadequate internal procedures, insufficient and untimely responses" and Al MacIsaac is also out.

Joel Quenneville, Florida Panthers coach, and Kevin Cheveldayoff (General Manager Winnipeg Jets), were both with the Blackhawks at the time of the first reports about the sexual assault allegations. They were also named in the damning report.

The Panthers declined comment citing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s plans to meet Quenneville. Cheveldayoff stated that he shared all he knew with Jenner & Block in preparation for the report.

Cheveldayoff stated that he was looking forward to speaking with Commissioner Bettman as soon as possible to ensure the league continues to cooperate fully. "I will not make any further comments until that conversation has been completed."

Quenneville skated Wednesday morning with the Panthers on the ice. Quenneville said he would be meeting with Bettman afterward.

Quenneville stated that he had participated in several meetings with the Panthers over the past week, and only said that the investigation's findings had been addressed. He said that he was looking forward to contributing to the process after the meeting with Bettman.

Jenner & Block were hired by the Blackhawks to conduct an "independent review" in response to two lawsuits against them. One was filed by John Doe, a player who claimed that Brad Aldrich had sexually assaulted him in 2010. The other was filed by a former student Aldrich was convicted in Michigan.

The franchise released the report, which Danny Wirtz, team CEO, called "both disturbing" and "difficult to read." The investigation was led by Reid Schar, a former federal prosecutor. He said that the firm did not find any evidence Wirtz and Rocky were aware of the allegations.

Danny Wirtz stated, "It is evident that the executives of this company put team performance above everything else in 2010." "John Doe deserves better from the Blackhawks."

John Doe, through Susan Loggans his attorney, stated that he was grateful for the Blackhawks' accountability.

John Doe stated, "Although no one can change the damage done to my life over the last decade by the actions of one man within the Blackhawks organisation, I am very thankful to have the truth recognized and look forward to continuing on the long journey towards recovery."

Danny Wirtz stated that he instructed the lawyers of the organization to seek a "fair resolution consistent with all the circumstances." Loggans denied that there had been any settlement negotiations.

She told the AP that she was waiting to see if they have any actions in place to repent.

Bowman, who is the son of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said that he was leaving because he didn’t want to distract. He also resigned from his post as General Manager of the U.S. men's hockey team in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Eleven years ago, during my first year of general management, I was made aware by a then video coach of inappropriate behavior involving a player," he stated in a Blackhawks statement. "I immediately reported the matter to my then-president, and CEO, who agreed to handle the matter.

"I discovered this year that the inappropriate behaviour involved a serious allegation regarding sexual assault. I trusted my superior to take the appropriate action. Now that I look back, I regret thinking he didn't handle the matter quickly.

According to the report, John Doe (then 20) and Aldrich (then 27), met in May 2010. Doe claimed that Aldrich threatened him by threatening him with a souvenir bat, before forcing him to perform oral sex and masturbating on his back. This was an allegation that he also described in a lawsuit. Aldrich claimed that the encounter was consensual.

Bowman, MacIsaac and Jay Blunk, who were then team presidents, executive vice president Jay Blunk, and Cheveldayoff, then-assistant general managers, met with Quenneville, then-coach, and Jim Gary, a mental skills coach, to discuss the allegations. (McDonough Blunk, Gary and Cheveldayoff are no longer employed by the NHL.

Schar stated that accounts of the meeting were "variable."

Schar stated, "What is certain is that Aldrich was not notified of his alleged sexual harassment or misconduct with a player."

According to the report Bowman said that Quenneville, upon learning about the incident, shook his head, saying it was difficult for the team get there and that they couldn't deal with the issue now.

McDonough did not inform the team's director for human resources about the allegations. Schar stated that McDonough's report was inconclusive and violated their policy on sexual harassment.

Schar stated that Aldrich traveled with the team and continued to work with them during that time. "On June 10, during an evening of celebration following the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win, Aldrich made a unwelcome sexual advance toward a Blackhawks intern who was 22 years.

"Also, after the Stanley Cup win Aldrich continued to celebrate in the presence John Doe who had complained."

Quenneville announced in July that he would be willing to take part in the probe. However, Quenneville stated in a statement he only learned of the allegations after being asked by Cheveldayoff if he knew anything about them prior to Aldrich's departure from the Blackhawks.

Bettman stated that he would not "reserve judgment” on Quenneville or Cheveldayoff and that he intends to meet with them to discuss their respective roles in the current situation.

According to the NHL, $1 million from the Blackhawks' fine will be used by the Chicago area organizations that provide counseling, training, support, and assistance for survivors of sexual or other abuse.

According to the report, Aldrich had the option to resign or be part of an investigation into John Doe's death on June 16, 2010. Aldrich signed a separation contract and no investigation was done.

According to the report, Aldrich was awarded a severance pay and a playoff bonus. He also received a salary for "for many months." His name was inscribed on the Stanley Cup's iconic trophy.

A lawsuit filed by the former player in Cook County Circuit Court on May 7th alleges that Aldrich also assaulted another Blackhawks player. John Doe, the former player who filed suit, is seeking $150,000 in damages.

Aldrich was sentenced for the Michigan attack to nine months imprisonment

Kyle Davidson was promoted to interim GM of the Blackhawks. USA Hockey stated that it plans to announce a replacement soon for Bowman.

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