Former Blackhawks Player Won't Cooperate with Team-Led Sexual Assault Investigation

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 07: The crowd cheers after the Chicago Blackhawks scored against the Vancouver Canucks in the third period at the United Center on November 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

One of the players who says he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach will not cooperate with the investigation commissioned by the team.

An attorney for the former player, Susan Loggans, provided a statement to TSN's Rick Westhead:

"The Blackhawks have been lying all along, denying in court documents that this sexual misconduct even took place, so why would we have any faith now in an investigation that has been paid for by the Blackhawks?
"Also, there is no assurance from anyone, not at the Blackhawks and not at the NHL, that the results of the team’s investigation will be made public. Why would we bother to participate in an investigation that may ultimately be buried and hidden from public view?"

Loggans went on to claim the Blackhawks' investigation is "just window dressing." 

She told Westhead she floated a proposal where the former player would conduct an interview with representatives from Jenner & Block LLP. In return, she would have the opportunity to speak with executives from the team. According to Westhead, the Blackhawks didn't grant the request.

In February 2014, Brad Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a student between 16 and 18 years of age. He had most recently served as a volunteer at Houghton High School in Michigan after having worked for the Blackhawks.

The renewed scrutiny toward Aldrich began after a former player from Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup-winning squad filed suit against the organization. The player said he and a teammate were sexually assaulted by Aldrich, and he took issue with how thoroughly he thought the organization vetted the claims.

Adam Rogowin, the team's vice president for communications, responded and said the Blackhawks took the allegations "very seriously" and that they "lack merit" based on what team officials discovered at the time.

The franchise was subject to a second lawsuit in May from a former high school hockey player in Michigan. The plaintiff's representatives said the Blackhawks displayed "utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others" by not firing Aldrich and subsequently providing positive recommendations to prospective employers.

Westhead reported June 17 that high-ranking executives of the Blackhawks, including then-president John McDonough, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac and general manager Stan Bowman staged a meeting in May 2010 with then-skills coach Paul Vincent.

During the conversation, Vincent alerted the officials about allegations made against Aldrich by two players.

"The players allegedly told Vincent that on separate occasions Aldrich had gotten them drunk in his apartment, watched pornography, and then tried to perform oral sex on them," Westhead wrote.

Although Vincent suggested the team report the allegations to Chicago police, the Blackhawks reportedly didn't take that step.

The Athletic's Mark Lazerus, Katie Strang and Scott Powers spoke with a different member of the 2009-10 team who said that "every single guy on the team knew" what had been leveled against Aldrich.

"That doesn't bother me, that they let him take pictures with the Cup," the player said. "What bothers me is they fired him, but they didn't take it to the cops. ... They let him get a job with a U-18 team. They let him go work with minors. They let this happen."

Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz wrote in a June memo the organization would hold an "independent review" into the matter.