Stan Bowman still has his guys in Chicago.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Blackhawks GM and president resigned after the release of an independent investigation into the team’s actions surrounding the 2010 sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich found that he — and others within the organization — attempted to keep it quiet.
Whether it’s keeping Aldrich with the team after the alleged assault was reported, giving him a day with the Stanley Cup, or allegedly providing a positive reference to a high school where he sexually abused a minor, there are plenty of reasons to be disturbed by the inaction coming from Bowman and the Blackhawks front office. Yet he still received sympathy from head coach Jeremy Colliton on Wednesday.
“He’s been a great mentor for me. Someone to learn from. He’s got so much experience. It’s hard to see … I feel bad for him, obviously,” Colliton said. “What’s in the report was tough to read. As an organization, we don’t stand for that. I can say that the Stan that I know, that’s not his values. So it’s hard to separate the two. Personally, I feel for him, while also understanding that in hockey culture, we have to make sure we do the right things.”
Although Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the two remaining holdovers from the 2010 team, remained silent on Wednesday, a few of their Blackhawks teammates offered comments ahead of their tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"It's probably a change that needed to happen. I get it. With everything that happened, it's probably a good thing we parted ways,” said winger Alex DeBrincat. We can just learn from it and get better as an organization."
John Doe speaks out
After the investigation’s findings were publicly released, the victim, identified as John Doe, made his first public statement and is feeling hopeful about what this means for the future of the sport.
Via TSN's Rick Westhead:
“Although nothing can truly change the detriment to my life over the past decade because of the actions of one man inside the Blackhawks organization. I am very grateful to have the truth be recognized, and I look forward to continuing the long journey to recovery. I would also like to thank Susan Loggans for her support and belief in me throughout this process. I also would not be here today without the love and support of my family and friends. I know I am not the only victim in this world of sexual abuse, and I hope my story can inspire change within the NHL, and around the world. I am still speechless.”
Quenneville doesn’t take statement back
Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was at the helm of the Blackhawks in 2010, will be behind the bench against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night. He briefly addressed the report's findings at a media availability Wednesday morning and is scheduled to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday.
“I look forward to continuing to contribute to the process,” Quenneville read from a prepared statement. “I respect you are all doing your jobs, and your questions as well, but I won’t comment any further until the appropriate time, after I meet with the commissioner.”
According to the investigation, Quenneville was aware of the incident but decided to refrain from talking to Aldrich out of fear of upsetting team chemistry. In July, Quenneville said he “first learned of these allegations through the media earlier this summer.” When asked on Wednesday if he stands by those comments, he said “I do, but I can’t comment on it.”
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was among those in attendance at a Blackhawks team meeting in May 2010 to discuss the alleged assault, is also scheduled to meet with Bettman and released the following statement on Tuesday.
Blackhawks file court motions to dismiss lawsuits
Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz and team owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz addressed the media on Tuesday to apologize for Aldrich's actions.
“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.”
Just one day later, Westhead reports that the franchise has filed court motions asking for the lawsuits to be dismissed.
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