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Blackhawks GM Bowman resigns, team fined by NHL after report investigating assault allegations against former coach released – The Globe and Mail

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Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman issued a statement on Tuesday explaining his decision to resign, saying ‘The team needs to focus on its future, and my continued participation would be a distraction.’Amr Alfiky/The Associated Press

The Chicago Blackhawks delayed an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against a member of their coaching staff to suppress negative publicity during the club’s 2010 Stanley Cup run.

That was just one of the revelations of a scathing report that was released on Tuesday by a Chicago law firm and resulted in the immediate resignations of Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac. Shortly after that, a US$2-million fine was levied against the team by the National Hockey League.

A probe conducted by Jenner & Block found senior executives, head coach Joel Quenneville and assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff were made aware of accusations against video coach Brad Aldrich during a meeting on May 23, 2010, but did nothing about it until three weeks later – after the Blackhawks had won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.

The club had a policy at the time that required reports of sexual harassment to be investigated promptly and thoroughly, but no information was shared with human-resources officers until June 14.

The law firm was hired by the Blackhawks this summer to conduct an investigation after two lawsuits were filed against the team for not properly reviewing complaints against Aldrich. One lawsuit was filed by a former Blackhawks player who said Aldrich committed sexual acts on him after the video coach threatened to ruin his career unless he complied. The other was filed by a high-school hockey player who came into contact with Aldrich after he left the Blackhawks.

According to the report, Aldrich met with the club’s HR director on June 16 and was offered the option to undergo an investigation into what occurred with the Blackhawks player, who is known only as John Doe, or to resign. Aldrich chose to resign, signed a separation agreement and no investigation was conducted.

As per terms of the agreement, the report said Aldrich received severance pay and a playoff bonus, continued to be paid for several months, was permitted to play host to the Stanley Cup for a day in his hometown, had his name engraved on the trophy, received a championship ring and was invited to the Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony at the United Center the following fall. Jenner & Block found he went on to have paid and unpaid positions with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame, Miami University in Ohio, and Houghton High School in Houghton, Mich. While in Houghton, in 2013, Aldrich was arrested and pled guilty to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor.

Details in the report were released by Reid Schar, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at Jenner & Block. The firm is not representing either the team or the plaintiffs who have sued it. The investigation was conducted over four months and included interviews with 139 witnesses. Among them were 21 current and former Blackhawks players or players from the Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s American Hockey League affiliate.

Schar said the investigation uncovered no evidence that the Blackhawks’ current ownership group, president of business operations or its general counsel were aware of the events of 2010 before John Doe’s lawsuit was filed.

In announcing the fine, the NHL criticized the club’s inadequate internal procedures, as well as its insufficient and untimely response.

According to a statement, the NHL and the Blackhawks agreed to direct US$1-million of the fine money “to fund local organizations in and around the Chicago community that provide counselling and training for, and support and assistance to, survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse.”

“We acknowledge that the Blackhawks have taken responsibility and ownership for what transpired, and have already implemented new preventative measures, as well as committed to additional changes that may be deemed appropriate as part of its responsive plan of action to the investigation and report,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “This response should send a clear message to all NHL clubs and personnel that inappropriate acts must be addressed in a timely fashion.”

Jenner & Block pointed out that its report found discrepancies in statements from Quenneville and Cheveldayoff, who were identified as having attended the May 23, 2010, meeting but subsequently said were unaware of the sexual-assault complaints until the lawsuits were filed this summer.

Quenneville is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers, and Cheveldayoff is general manager of the Winnipeg Jets.

Bettman said he plans to schedule meetings with them in the near future to discuss their roles in the incident.

On Tuesday night, Cheveldayoff issued a statement through the Jets communications manager.

“I have shared everything I know about this matter as part of my participation in Jenner & Block’s investigation,” Cheveldayoff said. “That is reflected in today’s investigation report. Further, I look forward to my discussion with Commissioner Bettman at the soonest possible date to continue to cooperate fully with the National Hockey League. I will reserve any further comment until after that conversation has been conducted.”

According to the report, during the May 23, 2010, meeting, John McDonough, then-president of the team, told the others that the HR department would not be alerted during the playoffs so as not to disturb team chemistry.

Earlier this summer, Marc Bergevin, who was the Blackhawks director of player personnel at the time, said he had no knowledge of the situation. He is currently in the last year of his contract as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

Bowman, who also resigned as GM of the U.S. men’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics, issued a statement on Tuesday explaining why he decided to resign.

“The team needs to focus on its future, and my continued participation would be a distraction,” he said. “I think too much of this organization to let that happen.”

In trying to repair the damage, the Blackhawks on Tuesday issued a lengthy letter to its fans and partners.

“The Blackhawks are more than just a hockey team,” the statement began. “We are a community that is built upon the trust and support of our fans, players, employees and partners.

“That trust was shaken when disturbing allegations recently came to light about our handling of sexual misconduct that occurred 11 years ago. It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents.

“We deeply regret the harm caused to John Doe and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond. As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must – and will – do better.”

Ben Pope, the beat reporter for the Chicago Blackhawks for the Chicago Sun-Times, posted a statement on Twitter that he attributed to the player only known as John Doe.

“Although nothing can truly change the detriment to my life over the past decade – because of one man within the Blackhawks organization – I am very grateful to have the truth be recognized, and I look forward to continuing the long journey of recovery,” the statement reads in part. “I know I am not the only victim in this world of sexual abuse, and I hope my story can inspire change within the organization and around the world.”

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Wild snap Maple Leafs’ five-game win streak with shootout triumph – Sportsnet.ca

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov scored in the third round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat Toronto 4-3 Saturday night for their sixth straight victory, snapping the Maple Leafs’ five-game win streak.

Jordan Greenway, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno had goals in regulation for Central Division-leading Minnesota, which has outscored its opponents 28-12 during the winning streak.

Cam Talbot made 39 saves for to tie Toronto’s Jack Campbell and the New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin for the league lead with 13 wins.

“When you have these games where there’s top teams coming in, you gotta bring your A-game,” Foligno said. “There’s a lot of talk about this game going into it. It’s nice to come out on top but everyone was ready for it and we had a really good effort tonight.”

Jason Spezza scored twice and had an assist and Auston Matthews once for Toronto, which is now 15-2-1 in its past 18 outings. Campbell had 37 saves.

The Maple Leafs were looking to establish a franchise record with eight straight road wins. Toronto also won seven straight road games in 1940-41, 1960-61 and 2002-03.

Zuccarello and Matthews scored in the first two rounds of the shootout before Kaprizov beat Campbell with a wrist shot. Talbot then stopped William Nylander at the other end.

“Two good hockey clubs settled by a shootout is a pretty good game,” Spezza said.

Toronto played without Mitch Marner. Fourth on the team with 21 points and tied with Rielly Smith with a club-best 15 assists, the right wing left Friday’s practice after colliding with teammate Jake Muzzin. Expected to be a game-time decision, Marner was replaced by Ondrej Kase, who missed the past three contests with an upper-body injury.

Coach Sheldon Keefe said Marner will miss Sunday’s game in Winnipeg and be re-evaluated after that in Toronto. “We don’t expect him to be out long term,” Keefe said.

The Wild had scored at least four goals in seven of their last eight games and led 3-0 midway through the second period when Foligno scored off a rebound of Joel Eriksson Ek’s shot after the latter corralled an errant clearing attempt.

Then Toronto took over to tie the game heading into the third.

Moments after Talbot made his best save, sprawling back with his left pad to rob Nylander, Spezza’s centering attempt from below the goal line near the right corner deflected off the skate of Jordie Benn and the side of Talbot’s helmet before dropping in the net at 12:47.

A more traditional goal by Spezza _ a slap shot from the slot _ made it 3-2 five minutes later, before his pass was redirected into the net by Matthews in the period’s final minute to extend his games with a goal to five. Both goals were on the power play. Toronto finished 2 of 5 with the man advantage.

For the sixth time in his career, Matthews has a five-game goal-scoring streak. Only two players in Toronto history have more: Babe Dye (eight) and Rick Vaive (seven).

Greenway scored on a rebound in the first and Zuccarello’s centering attempt deflected off the skate of Justin Holl for a 2-0 Wild lead early in the second.

“We had a pretty big slip up in the second, and to find a way to come back in the third and overtime and stick with it and to not let that get us down, we actually found a way to create some more things in the third, overtime, and to eventually come out with a win, so yeah, I think it shows a lot of good characteristics about our squad,” Greenway said.

NOTES: Foligno’s goal was his 10th of the season. He has now recorded 10-plus goals in three straight seasons for the first time in his 11-year career. … Michael Hutchinson served as Toronto’s backup goaltender as Joseph Woll remains day-to-day with stiffness.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: At Winnipeg Sunday.

Wild: Begin a four-game road trip Tuesday in Edmonton.

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Soccer-Manchester City go top as Chelsea suffer defeat at West Ham

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Chelsea paid a heavy price for a 3-2 defeat at West Ham United as first Liverpool, then Manchester City, leapfrogged them in the Premier League title race on Saturday, with City ending the day on top for the first time this season.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea began the day with a narrow lead and twice went in front at the London Stadium, only to be stunned by a late goal from substitute defender Arthur Masuaku.

It looked as though Liverpool had let Chelsea off the hook as their later clash at Wolverhampton Wanderers went into stoppage time still goalless.

But Divock Origi, making his 100th appearance as a Liverpool substitute, latched on to a Mohamed Salah pass to smash a winner past Wolves keeper Jose Sa in the 94th minute.

In the day’s late kickoff, Manchester City outclassed Watford in a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road with Raheem Sterling paving the way before Bernardo Silva struck twice.

Chelsea had seemed to be in control of their game after 28 minutes when Thiago Silva scored with a header from a Mason Mount corner but the European champions gifted the hosts a penalty in the 40th minute when Jorginho put his goalkeeper Edouard Mendy under pressure with a poor back pass.

Mendy brought down Jarrod Bowen for a penalty that was converted by Manuel Lanzini.

Mount restored Chelsea’s lead with a superb volley four minutes later only for West Ham to draw level early in the second half when Bowen fired in hard and low.

Masuaku clinched it for the fourth-placed hosts in the 87th minute with a cross that flew into the goal.

It meant Chelsea slipped to third spot with 33 points from 15 games, one point behind Liverpool and two behind Manchester City. West Ham have 27 points.

“We are not good enough in the details at the moment,” Tuchel told reporters. “We do too many big mistakes.”

Wolves had defended resolutely against a Liverpool side who have been in unstoppable goalscoring form.

But all their hard work came to nothing as Origi showed what a great impact substitute he can be, with his winner sparking wild celebrations on the Liverpool bench.

“It was clear: when you don’t score you just have to keep going and that’s what we did,” manager Juergen Klopp said.

“And then Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us. I love it.”

There was no such drama for City who racked up a fifth successive league win and a 31st in the calendar year, surpassing their previous club record.

“There are always things we have to improve but right now, the guys are playing at a really good level,” manager Pep Guardiola said. “We scored three beautiful goals and we could have scored more.”

Newcastle United’s wait for a first league victory of the season is over after Callum Wilson’s goal earned them a 1-0 victory against fellow relegation battlers Burnley.

The win lifted Newcastle off the bottom on goal difference, above Norwich City who play at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Brighton & Hove Albion drew for the eighth time this season as Neal Maupay rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Maupay struck in the eighth minute of stoppage time to deny Saints their fourth league win of the season after Armando Broja had give them a first-half lead.

 

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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Soccer-Man City take top spot after comfortable win at Watford

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Reigning champions Manchester City claimed top spot in the Premier League for the first time this season as Bernardo Silva scored twice in a 3-1 victory at Watford on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling’s early header paved the way to a comfortable win for Pep Guardiola’s side who made the most of morning leaders Chelsea’s earlier 3-2 defeat at West Ham United.

Silva fired in from a tight angle in the 31st minute and put City in cruise control just past the hour mark when he curled a delightful effort into the top corner.

In truth City’s winning margin should have been bigger against a struggling Watford side who were given some late hope when Cucho Hernandez pulled a goal back.

City’s fifth successive league win lifted them to 35 points from 15 games, one point ahead of Liverpool and two in front of Chelsea in what is shaping up to be a three-way title tussle.

The sight of Guardiola’s City hitting the top in the run-up to Christmas will send shivers through their rivals.

Once they climbed to the summit last season in January they marched off into the distance, although this time the form of Liverpool suggests they will not have things all their own way.

“It’s still the beginning, we are not even halfway through and there is a lot of hard work to do,” Silva, who is City’s surprise leading league scorer with seven goals, said.

“It’s always better to be top of the league than second, third or fourth, but it’s so close — Liverpool are just one point behind us, Chelsea are two points behind us.

“But we are in good form and we want to keep it that way.”

LONG NIGHT

It was only a fortnight ago that Claudio Ranieri’s side put Manchester United to the sword at Vicarage Road.

But they barely got a kick in the first half against City.

Once Sterling was given the freedom of the penalty area to head in Phil Foden’s cross after four minutes it always looked like being a long night for the hosts.

Jack Grealish could have had a hat-trick before halftime as he wasted several glorious chances but Silva soon showed him how to find the back of the net.

The Portuguese playmaker’s astute pass set up a chance for Ilkay Gundogan whose shot was saved by Daniel Bachmann but as the ball came out Silva was alert to drill a low shot into the net from an acute angle.

His second was a thing of beauty. Taking a pass from Kyle Walker on the right, Silva cut inside Danny Rose and curled a shot into the top corner with almost nonchalant ease.

City switched off slightly to allow Hernandez to score after his shot came back off the post, but it was a minor hiccup on a thoroughly satisfying day.

 

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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