Paul Vincent Will Only Participate in Blackhawks Investigation If Findings Are Public

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 14, 2021

FILE  - The Chicago Blackhawks logo is shown on a jersey in Raleigh, N.C., in this May 3, 2021, file photo. The Chicago Blackhawks have hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent review of allegations that a former player was sexually assaulted by a then-assistant coach in 2010. CEO Danny Wirtz announced the move in an internal memo Monday morning, June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File)
AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File

Former Chicago Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent told TSN's Rick Westhead he will not participate in an investigation into the team's alleged mishandling of sexual assault claims in 2010 unless the findings are publicly released:

Rick Westhead @rwesthead

Other players from the 2009-10 Blackhawks team are also being contacted by Jenner & Block. Several have told the law firm they won't cooperate without having their own lawyers present for interviews.

Vincent told TSN that in a meeting in San Jose, California, with then-Blackhawks president John McDonough, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman and team sports psychologist James Gary ahead of the Western Conference Final in 2010, he shared allegations from two Blackhawks players who said then-video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted them. Vincent, a former law enforcement officer in Massachusetts, said he asked the team to contact the sex crimes division of the Chicago police.

Vincent said the front office declined to do so.

The Blackhawks are currently facing two lawsuits related to Aldrich's time with the franchise. One from a former player who says the team ignored the allegations against Aldrich and another from a former high school hockey player in Michigan whom Aldrich sexually abused three years later in 2013. The second lawsuit says the Blackhawks provided Aldrich with a positive reference, allowing him to remain in the sport and continue abusing players.

While the team has filed motions to dismiss both cases, the Blackhawks retained the law firm Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation into the matter.

Vincent is now the second prominent figure central to the investigation to pressure the Blackhawks to make its findings public.

The lawyer for the former Chicago player suing the team said her client, known in court documents as John Doe 1, will not cooperate with the Jenner & Block probe, citing the team's actions leading up to the announcement of the investigation.

"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?" attorney Susan Loggans told Westhead on July 9. "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 said she would have allowed her client to participate in the team investigation if Jenner & Block had agreed to her interviewing Bowman, MacIsaac, Gary and McDonough.

Loggans said the request was denied.

"All I wanted was equal treatment," Loggans said. "The team says its lawyer is now doing an investigation, and I am doing an investigation. We're both attorneys with clients. No different. The Blackhawks are just looking to gain credibility by saying it will have another investigation but this is all just window dressing."

Rick Westhead @rwesthead

Update: After Joel Quenneville's statement yesterday, I asked him through a Panthers spokeswoman how Brad Aldrich, his video coach in CHI for two seasons, could have been fired by the Blackhawks in 2010 without Quenneville being given an explanation.<br>The Panthers didn't respond.

On Tuesday, 2009-10 Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel urged his former teammates to begin "telling the truth publicly" about being aware of the allegations at the time. Sopel said the allegations were discussed by players in the locker room during the Western Conference Final.

"...I'd say pretty much every player said, 'Holy s--t' and was shocked by it," Sopel told Westhead. "We were all in the same dressing room. It was something that was discussed for at least two or three days. [Then head coach Joel] Quenneville was in the same office as [Aldrich]. We heard about it."

Then-assistant coach John Torchetti told Westhead he recalls Vincent telling him that he advised the front office to call Chicago police but does not remember Vincent explaining the outcome of the meeting.

"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."

No timeline has been provided for the completion of the Jenner & Block investigation.