After a four month long investigation, the Chicago Blackhawks hosted a virtual press briefing to discuss the findings of Jenner & Block LLP’s independent investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich. Those who spoke were Blackhawks Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz, and Reid Schar, Partner at Jenner and Block LLP.
At the start of the briefing, Rocky Wirtz reiterated that he and Danny Wirtz did not know of the allegations until the lawsuit came around.
Reid Schar spoke after Rocky Wirtz and laid out how Jenner and Block LLP conducted their investigation. According to Schar, they broke the investigation into three parts. “First, the conduct of the former video coach Brad Aldrich in and around May 2010. Second, the extent to which individuals affiliated with the Blackhawks including those in Senior Management knew about Aldrich’s conduct in May 2010 and when and how those individuals learned about the conduct. And third, when and how individuals affiliated with the Blackhawks including those in Senior Management responded to the information they learned about Aldrich’s conduct in May 2010.”
Schar went on to explain that Jenner and Block LLP. were provided prompt access to current players and staff at all times by the Blackhawks. By the end of the investigation, 139 witnesses had been interviewed by Schar. Those witnesses include 21 players and five of the Black Aces who were called up by the Blackhawks from the Rockford IceHogs. Brad Aldrich and John Doe were also among the witnesses.
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From interviewing Brad Aldrich and John Doe, Schar learned there was in fact a sexual encounter between the two on May 8th or 9th of 2010. Both parties agree they had a sexual encounter. However, John Doe and Aldrich do not agree on whether it was consensual or not. John Doe says it was not consensual. While, Aldrich claims it was consensual.
On May 23, 2010, Blackhawks officials held a meeting to discuss John Doe’s allegations against Aldrich. John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Jay Blunk, and Kevin Cheveldayoff were all present at the time. Schar went on to say that “accounts of that meeting vary significantly.” He did go on to point out that both McDonough and Quenneville wanted to focus on the Stanley Cup Final and did not report the incident until June 14, 2010. Not only was Aldrich allowed to partake in the 2010 Stanley Cup Celebration, he also made unwanted sexual advances on an intern during the celebration.
Danny Wirtz began his part of the briefing by reiterating that “the Blackhawks had no influence over the direction of their investigation or over the contents of their report.” He then went on to say that the report is “both disturbing and difficult to read.” Wirtz explained they have been implementing new policies and trainings for their staff to adhere to.
It was also announced that Stan Bowman had stepped down from his position as General Manager and that Kyle Davidson would be replacing him as interim GM. Danny Wirtz went on to explain that any of the executives involved in this incident in 2010 would no longer be part of the organization.
After the briefing, we learned that Al MacIsaac had resigned from his role as the Blackhawks Sr. VP of Hockey Operations.
The Chicago Blackhawks released a letter to their fans and partners touching on some of the changes they have and will be implementing within the organization. Included in the letter is a link the 107 page report from Jenner and Block LLP.
WARNING : The report contains descriptive and graphic material mapping out what happened during the encounter between John Doe and Aldrich. If you are a survivor or know a survivor, this may hit a little too close to home. It is ok to not read the report. In the coming days, we will have a breakdown of the report and I, personally, will make available a copy of the report that will have the graphic details edited out.
Due to the findings in the 107 page long report, the NHL has fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “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.” Half of the $2 million fine will go to fund local organizations in and around the Chicago community that provides counseling and training for survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse.