Sexual assault scandal, grim reminder of hockey culture

Editor’s Note: This story contains mentions of sexual assault. Please proceed with caution.

Nothing in the revelations made public by the Chicago Blackhawks organization on Tuesday should come as a shock to anyone following the NHL. Repugnant? Yes. Appalling? Absoutely. Shameful and pathetic? One hundred percent. Shocking? No, not if you’ve been paying attention to hockey for a while.

The Blackhawks shared the law firm’s findings on Tuesday Jenner & Block’s independent investigation in sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010. Two lawsuits have been filed against Aldrich who alleged he sexually assaulted a former footballer in May 2010, received a positive reference letter organization when he left, then sexually assaulted a high school player in 2013.

Because of the report, Chicago general manager Stan Bowman has moved away of his role, and left his post as general manager of the 2022 United States Olympic Ice Hockey Team. Other members of the organization remaining from 2010 – including Al MacIsaac, senior vice president of hockey operations – have also left the team. The NHL is also fine the Blackhawks organization 2 million dollars “for inadequate internal procedures of the organization and an insufficient and late response” in the matter.

It was, without a doubt, the biggest scandal the NHL has seen in modern history. And we’ve seen a lot of it in recent years, from allegations of verbal abuse by Mike Babcock against former players to Bill Peters who allegedly used racial slurs against Akim Aliu. Hockey culture has always been rotten to the root, and this incident is yet another reminder that this suffering and hatred is the foundation of our favorite sport.

And it’s boring! It really, really is. Not just from the perspective of hockey fans, but, first and foremost, for the countless victims of hockey culture who have seen their lives irrevocably changed by the toxic cesspool that encompasses all aspects of the sport. The institution of hockey has let these people down and continues to do so with each passing day.

This is a sport – a game !! – after all. We watch people put knives on their feet and skate on a slippery surface for our enjoyment. Like many of you reading this, I love hockey! But, he doesn’t love us back – and never has.

Much smarter people than me who have written and talked about what we hockey fans and those of us in the media can do to overcome this culture of toxicity. Holding those responsible, speaking out against injustices, and pushing for greater oversight of those responsible are just the beginning of how we can begin to make change.

And this Blackhawks scandal isn’t far over, either. Specifically due to the investigation naming the former Chicago head coach – and the current Florida Panthers head coach – Joel Quenneville and the former assistant general manager – and the current general manager of the Jets of Winnipeg – Kevin Cheveldayoff as two people aware of the incident.

Earlier this summer, Quenneville and Cheveldayoff publicly stated that they had no knowledge allegations against Aldrich. The report released on Tuesday, however, names them both present at a meeting to discuss the allegations within an hour of the Blackhawks advancing to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he will meet both Quenneville and Cheveldayoff in good time to discuss their roles in the events, but both should be fired from their respective teams. The entire Blackhawks front office was aware of the allegations against Aldrich, but said nothing so as not to disrupt the team’s chemistry ahead of the team’s first Stanley Cup victory in 49 years.

This whole scandal is shameful and embarrassing from every angle. Remaining silent to protect the team chemistry while a young player was in pain is inexcusable and constitutes a horrific neglect of a duty of care.

There is no punishment severe enough for the Blackhawk organization to compensate for the trauma suffered by these victims. Although the Blackhawks cleaned up the house and the NHL fined the team – $ 1 million less that the league fined the New Jersey Devils for circumvention when signing Ilya Kovalchuk, by the way – nothing can fix what was lost.

It’s hard to say justice was served here in a 12-year-old case where the punishments and consequences only came after the Stanley Cup celebrations ended and the confetti almost cleared over the Blackhawk dynasty. . And that is, unfortunately, hockey culture at its best.

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