~ October 2021 ~ Fallout from the Chicago Blackhawks‘ sexual abuse scandal has only grown since the team’s 107-page investigation report released Tuesday (10/26), most recently with Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville resigning after a Thursday meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Quenneville — who coached Chicago to three Stanley Cup championships over 11 seasons — and five other Blackhawks senior staffers failed to take immediate action against a former video coach who sexually assaulted a player in 2010, according to the report. Former first-round pick Kyle Beach came forward as the victim on Wednesday.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and senior senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac stepped down two days before Quenneville, and Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff — Chicago’s assistant general manager in 2010 — is expected to meet with Bettman on Monday. The NHL fined the Blackhawks $2 million for their mishandling of the allegations. Here’s a chronological look at the case and what to expect next.
May 8-9, 2010 — The assault on Beach
Former Blackhawks center Kyle Beach and video coach Brad Aldrich engaged in a sexual encounter during the team’s Western Conference finals series against the San Jose Sharks. Aldrich told investigators the encounter was consensual, but Beach said it was “entirely non-consensual.”
According to the report, Aldrich told Beach he would never play in the NHL or walk again if he didn’t “act like he enjoyed the sexual encounter.” Aldrich then forced himself upon Beach.
May 12-19, 2010 — Beach confides in skill coach
Later in the Sharks series, Beach told Blackhawks skill coach Paul Vincent about the incident with Aldrich. Vincent — according to Beach, not the investigators — reported Beach’s claims to the Blackhawks’ front office, but Aldrich kept his job through the team’s Stanley Cup run. Beach described Vincent as an “amazing man” who “tried to do everything he could do back then.” The Blackhawks’ inaction after discovering the allegations, however, made Beach “feel like I didn’t exist.”
May 23, 2010 — Blackhawks’ senior staff meeting
MacIsaac learns of the alleged sexual encounter between Aldirch and Beach from an employee. After the Blackhawks’ series-clinching win over the Sharks, MacIsaac joined president John McDonough, Bowman, executive vice president Jay Blunk, assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Quenneville and team counselor Jim Gary to discuss the incident.
Bowman recalled McDonough and Quenneville brushing the issue aside, with the former hoping to avoid bad publicity during the team’s Stanley Cup run and the latter wanting to ensure his team had no distractions.
June 10, 2010 — Aldrich assaults Blackhawks intern
A day after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win, Aldrich allegedly made sexual advances toward a 22-year-old team intern. Aldrich “physically grabbed” the intern during the encounter, according to the report.
June 14-16, 2010 — Human resources gets involved
McDonough told Blackhawks’ human resources about the allegations against Aldrich and the senior managers’ May 23 meeting on June 14. Two days later, Aldrich met with the director of human resources. Aldrich neither confirmed nor denied his role in the incident with Beach, forcing the director to give him an ultimatum: an investigation or resignation. After choosing to resign, the Blackhawks gave Aldrich a severance, playoff bonus and championship ring. Aldrich also had his name engraved on the cup, spent a day with the Stanley Cup and attended the team’s banner-raising ceremony the following season.
Fall 2012 — Aldrich assaults two at Miami (Ohio)
Aldrich sexually assaulted two men while serving as Miami (Ohio) University’s director of hockey operations.
Miami found Aldrich assaulted a Miami student who worked at the rink and a summer hockey camp intern, both after inviting them to sleep on his couch. Aldrich resigned from Miami later that year.
March 2013 — Aldrich assaults high schooler
While serving as a volunteer hockey coach for a high school team in Houghton, Michigan, Aldrich allegedly sexually assaulted one of his teenage players after a post-game party.
Aldrich admitted his sexual advances toward the teen to police shortly after.
September 2013 — Blackhawks HR stonewalls Houghton Police
Houghton police contacts the Blackhawks’ director of human resources for information on Aldrich. The director refused to offer any information on Alrdrich — other than his resignation — without a subpoena. Aldrich was eventually convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student.
Feb. 13, 2014 — Aldrich sentenced to jail
Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in Houghton County Jail for his sexual assault on the high school player. Upon his release, Aldrich was required to register as a sex offender, serve five years of probation and pay restitution.
May 7, 2021 — Beach files lawsuit against Blackhawks
Beach, who was then unnamed and referred to as “John Doe 1,” filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks for their failure to punish Aldrich after his alleged assault in 2010.
June 2021 — Blackhawks begin independent investigation
Chicago hired former federal prosecutor Redi Schar to conduct an “independent investigation” into Beach’s allegations. The investigation released Tuesday and found the Blackhawks violated their own sexual harassment policy by waiting three weeks before taking action (Aldrich’s forced resignation), a sharp turn from the team’s commitment to investigating such issues “promptly and thoroughly.”
“The failure to promptly and thoroughly investigate the matter and the decision to take no action from May 23 to June 14 had consequences,” the report read. “During that period, Aldrich continued to work with and travel with the team. Aldrich engaged in an unwanted sexual advance on a Blackhawks intern—physically grabbing the intern in a sexual manner. And Aldrich continued to participate in team activities and celebrations, in the presence of John Doe.
Even after the allegations were finally reported to the Director of Human Resources, still no investigation occurred, and Aldrich was permitted to resign his position and to continue participating in Stanley Cup victory events.”
Oct. 26, 2021 — Bowman and MacIsaac step down
The Blackhawks announced Bowman and MacIsaac, the lone members of the May 2010 senior meeting that remain with the team, stepped down from their respective roles. Vice president of hockey strategy and analytics Kyle Davidson took over as Chicago’s interim general manager.
“The report is both disturbing and difficult to read,” said Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz, who added the team’s senior executives didn’t take adequate action in 2010. “It speaks for itself. (Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz) and our leadership team reviewed the report and we have had important and difficult conversations about how our organization will move forward.”
Later that day, the NHL announced it was fining the Blackhawks $2 million for their “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response in the handling of matters related to former video coach Brad Aldrich’s employment with the Club and ultimate departure in 2010.” The NHL and Blackhawks agreed to send $1 million of the fine money to Chicago organizations dedicated to supporting or assisting survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse.
USA Hockey also announced Bowman stepped down as the team’s general manager for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Oct. 27, 2021
Beach comes forward as the “John Doe” in the Blackhawks’ sexual assault case. The 31-year-old who is currently playing in Germany told TSN “it was a day of many emotions. I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I cried some more. My girlfriend and I, we didn’t really know how to feel, we didn’t really know how to think.”
Oct. 28, 2021 — Quenneville resigns
Quenneville resigned after meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York to discuss his involvement in the Blackhawks’ sexual assault case. Andrew Brunette will serve as the team’s interim head coach. Bettman said in a statement after Quenneville’s resignation that the coach wouldn’t receive any further punishment from the league — unless he tries to re-enter it.
“Should he wish to re-enter the league in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”
Beach also took to social media to thank fans for their “endless love and support” but admitted “my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court.” He hopes to “promote safety, as well as the health and well being of society as a whole” through his lawsuit.
Nov. 1, 2021 — Cheveldayoff meets with Bettman
Cheveldayoff, the Winnipeg Jets‘ general manager, is slated to meet Bettman on Monday. The NHL has yet to announce any punishment for Cheveldayoff.