The Chicago Blackhawks have been accused of cheating their way to a Stanley Cup, and the Florida Panthers are offering to help them review the evidence.
The chicago hockey team is a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League.
CHICAGO (WLS) — Coach Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers has volunteered to help the Chicago Blackhawks investigate claims that a former player was sexually abused by a then-assistant coach in 2010.
Quenneville, 62, led the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships in more than a decade until being dismissed in November 2018. Florida hired him in April of this year.
The Blackhawks have engaged a former federal prosecutor to undertake a “independent investigative assessment” of the claims in two lawsuits filed against the club, according to the team. Reid Schar and Jenner & Block LLP “have been instructed to pursue the facts wherever they lead,” according to an internal letter issued on June 28 by CEO Danny Wirtz.
The first complaint accuses former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich of sexual assault during the team’s drive to the 2010 Stanley Cup championship, while the second was brought by a former student who Aldrich was convicted of abusing in Michigan.
Quenneville, speaking for the first time since the lawsuits were filed, termed the accusations “obviously serious.”
In a statement released by the Panthers on Tuesday, Quenneville stated, “I first heard about these accusations via the media earlier this summer.” “I’ve informed the Chicago Blackhawks that I would support and assist in the independent investigation. I’m not going to say anything more while this case is in court because I respect everyone involved.”
A message was sent with the Blackhawks on Tuesday, requesting comment. Wirtz said in his letter dated June 28 that the team will abstain from making any additional statements until the independent investigation and legal procedures were completed.
The former athlete claims that Aldrich attacked him and that the team did nothing when he notified an employee in his complaint, which was filed on May 7 in Cook County Circuit Court. Aldrich is also accused of assaulting an unnamed Blackhawks player, according to the lawsuit. “John Doe” is the name of the former athlete who filed the lawsuit and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
According to the eight-page complaint, Aldrich, who was working as a video coach for the Blackhawks at the time, “turned on porn and started masturbating in front of” the player without his permission. According to the report, Aldrich allegedly threatened to harm the athlete “physically, financially, and emotionally” if he “did not participate in sexual activities” with him.
In May 2010, Paul Vincent, the team’s skills coach at the time, claimed he was informed by two players about Aldrich’s improper conduct. Vincent said that he had requested James Gary, the team’s mental skills coach, to follow up with the players and management.
The following day, Vincent, then-team President John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, hockey executive Al MacIsaac, and Gary were summoned to a meeting. He said that he requested that the team submit the accusations to Chicago police, but that his request was turned down.
Vincent made his comments in an interview with TSN, and he claimed in an email to The Associated Press that he stands by what he said. Jenner & Block had not contacted him, he claimed in another email to the Associated Press on Monday.
Aldrich’s lawyer informed Chicago public radio station WBEZ that his client rejects the lawsuit’s claims. The Blackhawks stated in a May statement to the radio station that the accusations leveled against them were unfounded.
Aldrich was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual behavior with a high school kid in Michigan in 2013 after leaving the Blackhawks, and his name is currently on the state’s sex offenders register.
On May 26, the former student who Aldrich was convicted of assaulting filed a second complaint against the Blackhawks, alleging that despite accusations from at least one player, the club gave good references to prospective employers of Aldrich and took no steps to report the issue.
In 2013, the student was a hockey player at Houghton High School in Hancock when Aldrich sexually attacked him at an end-of-season party, according to the lawsuit.
According to Houghton police records, an investigator contacted the Blackhawks about Aldrich, but human resources official Marie Sutera would only confirm that he had previously worked for the team. She asked for a search warrant or a subpoena for any further information about Aldrich.
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