Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/10/2021 (201 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ANAHEIM — Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sometime in the near future, following the public release of a Chicago Blackhawks internal investigation into allegations a then-assistant coach sexually assaulted two players more than a decade ago.
The yet-to-be-set meeting will include questions about what Cheveldayoff — Blackhawks assistant GM from 2009-11 — knew about video coach Brad Aldrich, who was accused of sexual abuse in 2010.
The investigation report, conducted by Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block, is 107 pages, includes interviews with 139 witnesses, and was released Tuesday.
It confirmed Cheveldayoff was one of seven members of the Blackhawks leadership group present at a May 2010 meeting where they discussed the allegations made by a player — referred to in an on-going lawsuit as John Doe — and Aldrich.
Other members in the meeting included GM Stan Bowman (who resigned Tuesday after the report was made public), team president John McDonough, executive vice-president Jay Blunk, vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, head coach Joel Quenneville and mental skills coach James Gary.
Reid Schar, a partner at Jenner & Block, said the meeting took place May 23, 2010, shortly before the Blackhawks defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference final series.
"I have shared everything I know about this matter as part of my participation in Jenner & Block's investigation," Cheveldayoff said in a prepared statement issued late Tuesday.
"Further, I look forward to my discussion with commissioner Bettman at the soonest possible date to continue to co-operate fully with the National Hockey League. I will reserve any further comment until after that conversation has been conducted."
TSN first reported on the abuse allegations in June 2021, which included additional allegations the Blackhawks refused to file a report to Chicago police in 2010, after being informed two players claimed Aldrich sexually assaulted them.
In that report, Cheveldayoff was not named. However, it prompted Cheveldayoff to issue a statement through the Jets a week later, saying: "(I) had no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks."
The statement continued: "After confirming that I had no prior knowledge of anything, I had no further involvement. As this is a legal matter before the courts, I will not be making any further comment; however, to the extent I am contacted by investigators in this matter, I will co-operate to the best of my ability and knowledge."
The Jets were in California on Tuesday, for a game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Head coach Paul Maurice had little say, when as asked to comment about the Chicago report.
"Nothing yet. I mean, I'm prepping to go on the ice when that was going live," Maurice said. "So, I don't have… I'm not inside on any of that information."
The results of the Blackhawks investigation included a specific section on Cheveldayoff.
It said he recalled there was a meeting in McDonough's office regarding Aldrich that included others in senior management.
"He recalled the group was told that there were allegations that Aldrich was socializing with players outside the arena, Aldrich sent inappropriate texts to players, and Aldrich made unwanted advances on players," reads the report.
"Cheveldayoff recalled that John Doe and Black Ace 1 (a 21-year-old prospect called up for the playoffs) were specifically mentioned in the meeting."
The report added Cheveldayoff recalled feeling shocked at the time because coaches and players don't often socialize, and he believed the allegations were serious. He also recalled the suggestion the allegations needed to be investigated "and that someone would make sure the two players and Aldrich would be kept separate."
The Blackhawks opted not to take any action for three weeks, as the team went on to win the Stanley Cup.
That allowed Aldrich to finish out the season, have his name etched on the Cup and be part of the championship celebrations also attended by John Doe. He was quietly allowed to resign in the off-season, eventually landing at Miami (Ohio) University as director of hockey operations.
He left the Miami job in 2012, amid sexual abuse allegations.
In 2013, while working as a volunteer assistant coach in Houghton, Mich., Aldrich pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a minor. In a separate lawsuit still currently being handled in court, the victim blames the Blackhawks for what happened to him.
Consequences from the recent investigation, in some cases, have been swift.
The NHL fined the Blackhawks US$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."
Bowman stepped down from his position, as well as GM of the U.S. men's team just months away from competing in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
It was also confirmed Tuesday MacIsaac is no longer part of the Blackhawks organization. McDonough was fired last summer, and Blunk left around the same time to pursue other business opportunities. Gary retired following the 2020-21 NHL season.
Quenneville is currently head coach of the Florida Panthers.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.