Fallout from the Chicago Blackhawks‘ sexual abuse scandal has only grown since the team’s 107-page investigation report released Tuesday, 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.
Oct. 30 — Bettman speaks with Bettman, NHLPA head Donald Fehr
Bettman met with Beach to discuss how to prevent further sexual misconduct within the league. Susan Loggans, Beach’s attorney, told the AP that Bettman conveyed his “sincere regret” over Beach’s experience and offered the league’s physcological services. Beach also met with NHL players’ association executive director Donald Fehr via a video conference call later that day.
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.
Olympic diplomatic boycott: PM says decision coming today – CTV News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be an announcement later today on the government’s decision about whether to proceed with a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games.
Speaking to reporters on his way into a caucus meeting on Wednesday, Trudeau said it’s important to align with allies – many of whom have chosen not to send government officials to the Games, but allow athletes to continue to compete.
“For the past many, many months we’ve been talking about our approach with allies around the world. We know that on issues like this it’s important to make sure that we are working with our allies…we will have an announcement to make later today,” he said.
The U.S. announced a diplomatic boycott on Monday as a means of protesting against human rights abuses in China towards the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the U.S. has a “fundamental commitment to promoting human rights” and that it “will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games.”
Since then, Australia and the U.K. have followed suit.
China has denied those allegations and says the boycott violates “the principle of political neutrality of sports established by the Olympic Charter and runs counter to the Olympic motto `more united,”‘ Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Many former diplomats and international security analysts suggest Canada should go further and enforce a full boycott, withdrawing all Canadian presence, including athletes.
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly also commented on the issue on Wednesday, noting that Canada is acting in a “diligent” manner.
“The most important thing for Canada right now is to make sure that we can have a strong voice on the question of human rights in Xinjiang in China,” she said.
With a file from The Associated Press.
Nick Ritchie finally scores his first as the Leafs get the jump on the Blue Jackets – Toronto Star
In the understated words of Nick Ritchie: “It had been a while.”
On a night of highlight plays from Michael Bunting and Jack Campbell, and a scoring streak continuing for Auston Matthews, it finally happened for Ritchie.
It took 27 games and 40 shots but the $2.5-million-a-year free-agent signing finally got his first goal with the Maple Leafs in Toronto’s 5-4 win Tuesday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“It felt good, helping the team, scoring a goal at home, and a win after a couple of losses,” Ritchie said. “It had been a while. Two months. A lot of games. As long of a (drought) as I’ve had in hockey. Feels good to get one. Hopefully I can build some confidence.”
The crowd was particularly supportive when public address announcer Mike Ross announced it was Ritchie’s “first goal as a Maple Leaf” and his teammates seemed happier than Ritchie.
“That’s almost better than scoring, seeing how much your team cares,” he said. “We have a tight team and everyone gets excited for little things.”
Ritchie had proven himself as a goal scorer, with 15 last year in a shortened season in Boston. He wondered sometimes why he was having trouble scoring in Toronto.
“It’s not an easy league to score in,” he said. “You have to get lucky, too. I had a couple of good chances the last little while. I just had to stay with it. I knew eventually it would finally go in for me.”
Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he predicted Ritchie would score Tuesday, but admitted he’s been predicting it would be Ritchie’s night for a while.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Keefe said. “I started calling it, then I stopped. It was his birthday the other day. But in the coach’s room before the game, I called it. I thought it would be on the power play.
“I can’t take a lot of credit for it, because I’ve been calling it and calling it. I did feel strongly that today was going to be the day. He’s been very quietly putting up points in the past five games. You could see it coming. He’s had good chances. I’m thrilled for him.”
About the game: Ritchie’s goal, the team’s offence and the play of Alex Steeves and Kristians Rubins. both of whom got into their first NHL games. was about all Keefe liked about the game. But it was a fun one to watch.
Matthews ended the night with two goals and an assist, Morgan Rielly had four assists, William Nylander had a goal and an assist and John Tavares also scored in a game in which the outcome never felt in doubt despite a late-game push by the Blue Jackets.
Olivier Bjorkstrand scored twice for Columbus. Sean Kuraly and Max Domi scored late for Columbus — Domi with one second left — to make the result look more flattering for the Jackets than the game really was.
“I didn’t like much about the game in any period,” Keefe said. “We found ways to strike offensively, whether it was on the power play (Nylander, Tavares) or off the rush (Matthews, twice) but, in terms of how we like to play, I don’t think there was a lot to like about the game.
“I’m happy the third period caught up to us, because it should have. Not a good game for us, but a good result. Needed to get back on the right side of it.”
Getting rest: Keefe thought the team was simply tired. They’d been out west for three games, came home for one, and then went back west for two, so it felt like a long trip. Plus the roster was in flux.
Mitch Marner missed his third game with a shoulder injury, suffered in practice Friday. Rasmus Sandin was out with the effects of knee-on-knee injury suffered Sunday in Winnipeg. Travis Dermott, too, was sidelined with a shoulder issue. And Jason Spezza missed the first-game of a six-game suspension for his knee to the head of Winnipeg’s Neal Pionk, whose knee injured Sandin.
“We’re a tired group that needs time,” said Keefe, who gave his team Wednesday off. “We’re a team that needs to regroup itself.”
Quick start: Nylander, Matthews and Ritchie got the Maple Leafs off to a 3-0 lead in a first period they dominated. The led the shot-clock 18-9 after 20 minutes.
Nylander scored on the power play, and Matthews made it 2-0 on a nice feed from Michael Bunting who, with a defenceman draped all over him, pulled off a between-the-legs pass to Matthews, who had an easy tap-in to extend his goals streak to seven straight games. Tavares and Matthews scored seven seconds apart in the final two minutes of the middle frame.
Matthews is on a tear, with 10 goals in his last seven games and 17 on the season. He has rejoined the conversation for the Rocket Richard Trophy, putting himself within striking distance of NHL goal leaders Leon Draisaitl and Alex Ovechkin, who had 21 and 20 as the games began Tuesday.
The new guys: Steeves and Rubins are feel-good stories.
Rubins, who is on Latvia’s short list of potential Olympians, is 23 and worked his way up the Leafs system. Undrafted out of the Medicine Hat Tigers, he started with the Newfoundland Growlers in 2018. He’s six-foot-five and cuts an imposing figure on the blue line.
“Dream come true, just a special night for me,” he said, after being paired with Timothy Liljegren and going minus-1 in 13 minutes and 40 seconds.
Steeves was a standout at Notre Dame last year who kept up his scoring ways with the Marlies, despite missing camp with an injury. Steeves had seven goals in 12 games with the Marlies.
“It was super special, really happy we got the win,” said Steeves, who was minus-1 while playing 8:28. “It was a tangible goal of mine to play for the Leafs this year. I didn’t really have a set date. To get the call this early was special. It wasn’t something I was really thinking about, but I just knew I wanted to get here.”
Roster notes: Veteran defenceman Alex Biega was also among the call-ups, as insurance, due to the litany of injuries. He was scratched for Tuesday’s game … Forward Joey Anderson was returned to the Marlies … Jake Muzzin left the game briefly in the first period after taking a shot off his foot.
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Maple Leafs support Spezza’s appeal, but must ‘press on’ after suspension – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO — The way Jason Spezza practised Tuesday morning is the way he always practises.
Smiling and laughing with his Toronto Maple Leafs teammates, you’d have no idea the veteran was only hours away from a significant suspension.
Through his 19 years and 1,203 games in the league, this marks the first time the 38-year-old Spezza has faced supplemental discipline.
And he is appealing the Department of Player Safety’s ruling.
“Look,” coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday night. “I think everybody in this room, everybody in the game knows the character and integrity that Jason Spezza has through his entire career. We do and always will support him. He’s going to weigh his options that he has in this process.
“But from our perspective, it’s important that we just press on here. That’s all we can do.”
Spezza’s initial appeal will arrive on the desk of commissioner Gary Bettman, who seldom overrules his own safety department. Next, Spezza and his camp could take their objection to an independent arbitrator.
These steps take time, and Spezza is available to return to action for the Leafs on Dec. 19 in Seattle.
During Spezza’s in-person (Zoom) hearing, the Maple Leafs argued that (a) this was not kneeing, (b) Pionk was eligible to be checked on the play, and (c) Spezza could’ve delivered a legal check had Pionk not fallen further toward the ice before contact.
Player safety agreed only that Pionk was eligible to be hit. Even so, the department maintains that the onus is on Spezza to get lower to deliver a clean hit and avoid head contact.
Player safety described Spezza’s actions as “reckless and retaliatory” for Pionk’s knee-on-knee hit of Rasmus Sandin earlier in the game, describing the Spezza hit as a “forceful retribution on a player who is in a vulnerable position.”
The department also weighed Pionk’s injury; the Jets announced the defenceman is in concussion protocol.
Though they disagree with the ruling, the Maple Leafs wish to avoid excuses or finger-pointing while Spezza sits.
“We’ve got to have guys come in and play and accept more responsibility,” Morgan Rielly said. “And I think we’ve got the depth to do that.”
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