Blackhawks File Motions Asking Judge to Dismiss Lawsuits Over Aldrich Allegations

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2021

FILE - In this May 3, 2021, file photo, the Chicago Blackhawks logo is displayed on a jersey in Raleigh, N.C. An attorney who represents a former Blackhawks player who alleges he was sexually assaulted by a then-assistant coach in 2010 says her client has been interviewed as part of the team’s review of the accusations. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File)
AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File

Though the Chicago Blackhawks said they plan to reach a settlement with the plaintiffs in lawsuits over the team's handling of sexual assault allegations against former assistant coach Brad Aldrich, the club still filed a motion to dismiss the suits on Tuesday.

The Blackhawks said the filing to dismiss was procedural to meet a legal deadline, per Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Investigators released findings of an investigation into the Blackhawks' handling of sexual assault allegations made against Aldrich in 2010 on Tuesday. The investigation found that the team failed "to promptly and thoroughly investigate" the allegations, violating its own policy on sexual harassment, and allowed Aldrich to continue working with the team, providing opportunities for further misconduct.

The Blackhawks were fined $2 million by the NHL for "inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response in the handling of matters" related to allegations made against Aldrich, who was later sentenced to nine months in jail for a separate sexual assault of a high school student.

A former Blackhawks player filed a lawsuit against the club earlier this year detailing sexual assaults perpetrated by Aldrich on himself and another player. Team president Stan Bowman, who was with the club during the 2010 season, resigned and the Blackhawks released a statement apologizing for their inaction. 

"It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents," the Blackhawks said in a statement. "We deeply regret the harm caused to John Doe and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond. As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must‚and will—do better."

The investigation found no evidence current members of management who were not with the team in 2010 were aware of any of the allegations.