CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –The Chicago Blackhawks’ franchise has been greatly stained like never before perhaps. Not by the team’s stretch of poor play on the ice, but because former members of the organization brushed aside claims by a former player that he was sexually abused by a former video coach with the team.
Tuesday afternoon in a video briefing with reporters Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz and team owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz confronted the shame that now covers the organization. Shame that the people in charge of the franchise didn’t act on claims by an unidentified former player “John Doe” in 2010 that he was sexually assaulted by a former video coach Brad Aldrich.
Lead investigator Reid Schar of Jenner & Block Law Firm revealed much of what the investigation uncovered in the same video briefing. “John Doe was a 20-year old hockey player for the Blackhawks’ American Hockey affiliated team the Rockford IceHogs. John Doe was called-up to Chicago during the 2010 playoffs to serve as a Black Ace.”
A recent investigation concluded that in May of 2010, just before the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup Championship run, team leaders including then President John McDonough, GM Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville were told of the abuse allegations and met to discuss them, but they didn’t act on the accusation for three full weeks.
“Mr. McDonough did nothing to address the allegations until June 14 after the playoffs were over when he reported the information to the Director of Human Resources,” said Schar.
The whole matter was brushed aside until Aldrich resigned from his job in June of 2010. No investigation was ever conducted by the Blackhawks at that time. Instead the matter was dropped. This most recent investigation began this August only after the Blackhawks were hit with a lawsuit by the former player.
Tuesday Stan Bowman resigned from his position as the Blackhawks’ President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. In a statement released by the Blackhawks Bowman claimed that he reported a matter of inappropriate behavior by Aldrich in 2010 to McDonough believing that McDonough would handle the matter. Bowman also stated he didn’t learn until this year that the inappropriate behavior involved a serious allegeation of sexual assault.
Schar said Danny and Rocky Wirtz were cleared in the investigation.
“Our investigation uncovered no evidence that the Blackhawks’ owners including the current Chairman and current CEO were aware of the events of 2010 at any time before John Doe’s potential civil lawsuit was brought to their attention ahead of its filing.”
“John Doe deserves better from the Blackhawks,” said Danny Wirtz. “The Blackhawks are a very different organization than we were in 2010. I am confident that this would not be tolerated in our organization today.”
Wirtz says the Blackhawks hope to reach a settlement with the unnamed former player in a civil lawsuit.
NOTE: Bowman’s right-hand man Al MacIsaac has also stepped aside from his position as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. Kyle Davidson has been named interim general manager of the Blackhawks. He has been working as the Vice President of Strategy and Analytics under Bowman.