Former Blackhawks Coach John Torchetti Says Team Knew About Alleged Sexual Assault

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 26, 2021

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 18: Minnesota Wild head coach John Torchetti speaks during a press conference after defeating the Dallas Stars in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 18, 2016 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Former Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti corroborated multiple reports that team leadership decided not to call the sex crimes division of the Chicago Police after two players accused then-video coach Bradley Aldrich of sexual assault during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Torchetti, who was an assistant to head coach Joel Quenneville from 2007 to 2010, told TSN's Rick Westhead he recalls skills coach Paul Vincent relaying what two players had told him about Aldrich's alleged abuse. Torchetti said Vincent, a former Massachusetts police officer, told him of the May 17, 2010, meeting with the front office at a hotel in San Jose, California.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing when Paul told me what the players had said to him," Torchetti said. "We talked about it and he said, with the players' permission, he had to go and take this to management to be dealt with. I remember after the meeting, Paul told me all the brass were in there and that they had said no to going to the police."

Vincent told TSN the meeting consisted of him, team sports psychologist James Gary, president John McDonough, vice president Al MacIsaac and general manager Stan Bowman.

The Blackhawks are currently facing two lawsuits over Aldrich's alleged abuse. The first from a player on the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team, known in court documents as John Doe (1), who says the team ignored accusations against Aldrich. The second from a former high school hockey player in Michigan, referred to as John Doe (2). Aldrich pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with him in 2013. John Doe (2) says the Blackhawks gave Aldrich a letter of recommendation after covering up sexual abuse claims three years earlier.

Former Chicago defenseman Brent Sopel (2007-2010), and forward Daniel Carcillo (2011-2013) called out both the NHL and the Blackhawks for their lax response:

Brent Sopel @brent_sopel

The front office staff should be in jail. The NHL is showing there true colours. Gary doesn’t care about anyone but himself. This is absolutely disgusting that the NHL is doing nothing

Brent Sopel @brent_sopel

The front office staff discuss me should never work in hockey again. It’s also BS the NHL isn’t involved yet <a href="https://t.co/8EYRvAxHpt">https://t.co/8EYRvAxHpt</a>

Aldrich is now a registered sex offender in the state of Michigan. The Blackhawks are petitioning the Cook County Court to dismiss the player's lawsuit because of the statute of limitations.

"It's so upsetting, it's so glaring, because of what this guy was able to do after he left the Blackhawks," Torchetti said. "You have to know what kind of guy Paul Vincent is. This guy is loyal to a fault, the most loyal guy you are going to meet in the game. His background helps explain why he gets so upset about issues like abuse."

Another unnamed player on the 2010 Blackhawks told Mark Lazerus, Katie Strang and Scott Powers of The Athletic that "every guy on the team knew about" the allegations in 2010. The coach departed the franchise shortly after the team won the Stanley Cup, joining Miami (Ohio) University's hockey program for four months before leaving his post as allegations of unwanted sexual touching surfaced. He then worked as a volunteer high school coach in Michigan, where he would be convicted in 2013.

Miami is currently conducting an independent investigation of Aldrich's time at the university. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic the league is not investigating the matter and didn't respond when asked what it would take for the NHL to step in.