BSSF Blog: Blackhawks Face Sexual Assault Allegations

Following a recent report, the Chicago Blackhawks are now facing the brunt of sexual assault allegations that should have been addressed a decade ago.

The+Chicago+Blackhawks+are+facing+backlash+after+a+deep+investigation+was+done+into+the+team+and+the+team+culture+revealing+instances+of+sexual+assault.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

The Chicago Blackhawks are facing backlash after a deep investigation was done into the team and the team culture revealing instances of sexual assault. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Grace Coyne, Contributing Writer

The Chicago Blackhawks are facing backlash after a 107-page investigation report was released Tuesday indicting former Blackhawks video coordinator Brad Aldrich for assaulting a former center, Kyle Beach, during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup run.

 “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.

Beach reportedly told the Blackhawks skills coach, Paul Vincent, about the situation who then reported it to the front office. However, the front office did little about it that season until the Stanley Cup run was over. Even then, they essentially let it fade into the background.

“The Blackhawks’ inaction after discovering the allegations, however, made Beach “feel like [he] didn’t exist.”

After the Blackhawks’ Western Conference Finals-clinching win against the San Jose Sharks, the front office had a meeting to discuss the ongoing situation. As a result, the claim was brushed aside out of concern about the bad publicity with the Blackhawks entering the Stanley Cup.

Then, a day after the Blackhawks hoisted the trophy, Aldrich made advances toward a 22-year-old. Following this, the front office took action to try and resolve the issue. Aldrich neither confirmed nor denied Beach’s sexual assault claims, forcing the Blackhawks to choose between opening an investigation or forcing Aldrich to resign as a coach.

“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.” Despite his indifference to these allegations, Aldrich moved on from the Blackhawks and went on to sexually assault three other victims. Aldrich was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student thereafter. 

The Blackhawks General Manager (GM) Stan Bowman and former coach Joel Quenneville ignored Beach’s sexual assault claims against Aldrich. Joel Quenneville has moved on from the Chicago Blackhawks and became coach of the Florida Panthers. He has since resigned after this news release. 

The Blackhawks themselves faced punishment too. “The NHL fined Chicago $2 million for ‘the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response’ to Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.”

The Blackhawks’ poor handling of this situation has tainted their legacy in the 2010s when they won three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015 led by Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews. 

Hopefully, the resignations of the managers and coaches that had knowledge of Beach’s sexual assault have learned that coaching is bigger than winning. An organization’s concern should not only be about winning but their players’ well-being, whether that be physical or mental.