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Lawsuit Against Blackhawks Video Coach Alleges He Threatened Player with Baseball Bat

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2021

Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich allegedly threatened a Blackhawks player with a baseball bat during the course of a sexual assault, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Ben Pope.

The allegation is connected to one of two civil lawsuits against the organization. The player, identified as "John Doe 1," filed suit in May and said he was assaulted by Aldrich.

The player said he was invited to Aldrich's apartment in May 2010 to supposedly break down game video, per Pope. However, the lawsuit alleged Aldrich turned on pornography before masturbating in front of the player.

Aldrich allegedly "blocked the only exit" and "physically threatened" the player with a Chicago Cubs souvenir baseball bat when he attempted to leave. Aldrich also allegedly threatened the player's career "if [he] did not engage in nonconsensual sexual activity."

The plaintiff also referenced a possible pattern, saying Aldrich "repeatedly invited young interns" for the team to his apartment, which Blackhawks officials purportedly thought was "quite unusual."

Rick Westhead of TSN reported June 17 that Chicago general manager Stan Bowman, then-president John McDonough and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac met in May 2010 with then-skills coach Paul Vincent, who alerted them to allegations of sexual assault against Aldrich.

Vincent suggested the team take the matter to Chicago Police, but officials reportedly chose not to take that step.

In a separate lawsuit, a former Michigan high school hockey player said the Blackhawks showed "utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others" when they didn't investigate or fire Aldrich or alert his prospective employers about the allegations.

In June, the Blackhawks brought in a former federal prosecutor from Jenner & Block to oversee an independent review of the allegations.

Bowman addressed the situation for the first time Thursday.

"I do not condone or tolerate harassment or assault of any type," he told reporters. "The Blackhawks have engaged an outside legal firm to conduct an investigation. ... For now, I have to respect the litigation and pending review. I'm not going to be able to make any comments about that."

Bowman added he will "give it my full cooperation" and would not say whether the review will be made public.

Speaking with The Athletic in June, NHL agent Allan Walsh expressed his desire for the team to disclose the results of the investigation.

"If you're not committed to making the reports public, all you're doing is managing a PR nightmare/crisis without actually doing anything meaningful," he said.

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