Editors Note: The content of this post contains graphic and disturbing details of sexual assault and abuse.
The more information that comes out regarding this growing list of allegations involving the Chicago Blackhawks and former video coach Brad Aldrich, the sicker fans must feel. An organization that found ways to navigate some incredibly murky waters surrounding the team during a historic run of success, winning three Stanley Cups in six seasons (2010-2015) on the ice, once again finds itself in serious turmoil.
The Blackhawks Knew?
According to multiple reports, the Blackhawks were aware of the sexual assault of two players, referring to the incidents as “an open secret” both within and outside the team’s hockey department. The players claim to have reported that they had been abused by Aldrich to then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010, during the Western Conference finals. Vincent claims he asked the team’s management to report the allegations to Chicago police but that his plea was rejected. However, Vincent said he is willing to testify on behalf of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits against the Blackhawks.
“I feel a weight has been lifted off of me,” Vincent said in an interview on Monday with TSN. “I will stand up in court and say what happened. I know what the team did to cover this up and coming forward was the right thing to do.”
In a recent interview, TSN spoke with a former team marketing official, who asked for anonymity because he still works in the industry and fears repercussions from the National Hockey League, stated he was told by Blackhawks assistant trainer Jeff Thomas, during the summer of 2010, that Aldrich had allegedly sexually assaulted two players.
“Brad would routinely befriend young interns and invite them to his apartment in Chicago to watch March Madness basketball and other sports,” the marketing official said. “I was told to steer clear of him because he had tried something at his apartment on a few players. This was not something that only a few people knew about. The entire training staff, a lot of people knew…This was an open secret.”
The Allegations Involve Multiple Cover-Ups
The allegations came to light back in May of this year after a former player filed a lawsuit in Chicago against the franchise. That unnamed player, identified as “John Doe (1)” in court documents, alleges that he reported the sexual abuse to the team; however, the Blackhawks covered it up. The player also stated that Aldrich threatened him via text messages against making a complaint.
Ben Pope, a beat writer, covering the team for the Chicago Sun-Times, has been on top of this and released the following update, which is both mind-blowing and disgusting:
BREAKING: A new, amended version of the John Doe 1 lawsuit against the Blackhawks provides significant new details about Bradley Aldrich's alleged 2010 assault of the Hawks player.
Aldrich allegedly threatened the player with a baseball bat before forcing nonconsensual sex: pic.twitter.com/uC9G5odpgb
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 22, 2021
Pope further elaborates on information from the amended lawsuit involving John Doe 1:
The amended lawsuit also alleges Aldrich "repeatedly invited young interns" working for the Blackhawks "to his private apartment" before the alleged sexual assault, and that Hawks employees "were aware of this behavior and found it to be quite unusual."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 22, 2021
Humiliating Trash-Talking By Teammates
To make matters worse, the allegations include former teammates of the victim. The Chicago Tribune reported Susan Loggans, the attorney for the players involved in the alleged incidents in 2010, says Blackhawks teammates “bullied” the player known as John Doe 1 after the allegations against Aldrich became known around the locker room.
“It occurred on the ice where some fellow players bullied him because they heard that Aldrich made advances at him and they heard about what happened and made inappropriate bullying comments to him of a sexual nature,” Loggans said.
Shortly after the first lawsuit, a former Michigan high school hockey player, identified in court documents as “John Doe 2,” alleges the Blackhawks covered up the abuse of two players and even went as far as giving Aldrich a letter of reference when he left the team in the summer of 2010. That letter allowed him to go on and find other victims, the lawsuit alleges.
The following information makes that statement very hard to argue…
In 2013, just three years after leaving the Blackhawks, Aldrich was convicted of abusing a then-17-year-old hockey player in Houghton, Michigan. In 2012, Aldrich resigned from his position as director of hockey operations at Miami University, “under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult,” the university’s attorney told police, according to police records obtained by WBEZ. As a result, Aldrich was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and is now a registered sex offender in Michigan.
Blackhawks Pledge To Cooperate
Earlier this afternoon, Blackhawks executive Stan Bowman pledged to cooperate with an investigation into allegations.
“We take this very seriously,” Bowman said when asked about the situation. “I take this very seriously. But we have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today. We’re going to let this play itself out.”
Longtime Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now with the Florida Panthers, said recently he reached out to the organization to say he “will support and participate in the independent review.”
I would not expect much out of the independent review.
We will continue to provide updates as more details unfold, but this is an alarming situation that is getting worse by the minute.