Blackhawks Scandal Exposes Sexual Assault In The NHL | Taking Male Accusations Seriously

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The sports world rocked after the revelation of allegations that players on the Chicago Blackhawks were victims of sexual assault.

The shock stemmed from the accusations that the assaults were perpetrated by a man against players. In the wake of the Washington Football Team sexual harassment in the workplace investigation conducted by the NFL, another scandal in a different popular American sports league is deplorable.

So What Happened?

During the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning 2010 season, a scandal was happening during the playoffs. After defeating the Vancouver Canucks in the second round, the team went to the host city of the Western Conference finals, San Jose.

They would face the San Jose Sharks.

Before the next series began the team had four days off but went to San Jose instead of Chicago. It was there that video coach Brad Aldrich would attempt to assault two teammates sexually, reports say.

According to reports, Aldrich got the teammates drunk at local bars and the hotel bar before attempting to perform oral sex on them. One of the accusers was former Blackhawks center Kyle Beach.

Success x Scandal

Ironically, the team registered franchise records: 112 points and 52 wins while also cinching their first division title since 1992-93. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, a secret was buried.

However, just before the Western Conference Finals, the two victims reported the incident to Paul Vincent, a skills coach for the team. Vincent shared it with many top-level executives with the team, but the Chicago police were never notified.

Nothing Happened

Aldrich was allowed to keep his position with the team even through the Stanley Cup campaign. Nothing happened.

Aldrich went on the defense, rewriting the narrative as a consensual sexual encounter to rebut Beach’s assault claims. According to reports, Beach was also threatened to never play in the NHL if he didn’t play ball and stick to Aldrich’s story.

He was even threatened with physical injury if he didn’t “act like he enjoyed the sexual encounter.”

Then coach Joel Quenneville reportedly wanted to ensure that no distractions would befall the team en route to the Stanley Cup, and he took no action.

Quenneville coached the Blackhawks for 11 years before going to the Florida Panthers. He has won three Stanley Cups total (2010, 2013, and 2015). The coach resigned from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday after the 107-page investigation went public.

Additionally, the general manager and the senior director of hockey administration also stepped down. The investigation revealed that the leadership in 2010 waited three whole weeks before taking any action towards Aldrich.

Punishments

The NHL also fined the Blackhawks $2 million for mishandling the situation.

Aldrich was a serial predator, with other incidents occurring after the one with the two players. According to reports, Aldrich made sexual advances towards a team intern the day after the Stanley Cup win. In addition, as the director of hockey operations at Miami Univerity in Ohio, Aldrich assaulted a student and a summer intern.

Aldrich also sexually assaulted a teenager during a postgame after party as a volunteer hockey coach in Michigan. He reportedly admitted the incident to the police.

Eventually, Aldrich was convicted for the assault on the teenager on a fourth-degree sexual criminal conduct charge, and had to register as a sex offender after serving time.

How Aldrich received a job with young people after the allegations in the NHL is a tragedy.

Professional hockey now has its own reckoning, like the re-examination of practices and standards in women’s soccer and the NFL.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.