NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released by the league that he plans on meeting with Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville following the release of the investigation into how the Chicago Blackhawks handled sexual assault allegations against an assistant coach in 2010.
During the Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2010, an unnamed Chicago player alleged that then-video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him.
Aldrich resigned following the Stanley Cup Finals instead of agreeing to an investigation, the report said. He continued to be around the team, however. Aldrich was later convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a high school student in Michigan.
The result of the wide-ranging investigation was released on Tuesday; Blackhawks team president Stan Bowman resigned in the wake of the report and senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac is also out.
The NHL has also fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “the organization’s 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 League and the Blackhawks have decided that $1 Million of the fine money will be dedicated to fund local organizations in and around the Chicago community that provide counseling and training for, and support and assistance to, survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse.”
Quenneville, who was fired by the Blackhawks in 2018 and hired by the Panthers in 2019, previously said in July he had only heard of the allegations “though the media.” He did say at the time he would work with the investigation.
That investigation found that Quenneville had been involved in a meeting about the sexual assault not long after the Blackhawks won the 2010 Western Conference championship.
Aldrich remained not only employed by the Blackhawks through the Stanley Cup Finals, but he celebrated with the team after it won the championship.
The investigation also found Aldrich made a sexual advance on a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern following a team championship celebration — weeks after the Blackhawks learned of the first allegations made against Aldrich.
While Quenneville and former Chicago assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff do not work for he Blackhawks any more, Bettman said he planned to meet with both.
“With respect to Messrs. Cheveldayoff and Quenneville, who are currently employed by NHL Clubs other than the Blackhawks,’’ the NHL statement from Bettman read, “I plan to arrange personal meetings in the near future with both individuals to discuss their roles in the relevant events as detailed in the Report. I will reserve judgment on next steps, if any, with respect to them.”
UPDATE: Quenneville said that meeting would be on Thursday, likely at NHL headquarters in Manhattan.
From the Panthers: “At this time, Commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated that he will be meeting with Joel Quenneville to discuss the events highlighted in the Jenner & Block October 2021 report. Accordingly, we have no comment.”
Quenneville’s future with the Panthers is not known at this point.
Florida, off to its best start in franchise history at 6-0, play host to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
Quenneville signed a six-year contract with the Panthers following the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.