Ex-Blackhawks Player: Team Aware of Ex-Video Coach's Alleged 2010 Sexual Assault

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2021

An official picks up a puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks Monday, April 19, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

An unnamed member of the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks roster said everybody on the team was aware of the alleged sexual assault of two players by former video coach Brad Aldrich.

"Every guy on the team knew about it," the player told Mark Lazerus and Katie Strang of The Athletic on Friday. "Every single guy on the team knew."

One of the players filed a lawsuit in April alleging the Blackhawks ignored his report. He stated Aldrich "threatened to injure (him) ... physically, financially and emotionally if the plaintiff did not engage in sexual activity," and he sought $150,000 in damages in the case. The team said those allegations "lack merit."

TSN's Rick Westhead reported last week that two players had told skills coach Paul Vincent about the alleged sexual assaults by Aldrich, and Vincent relayed the information during a May 2010 meeting with several members of the Blackhawks front office at the time—president John McDonough, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman and team sports psychologist James Gary.

A source told Westhead that Vincent's effort to have to inform the Chicago police were "rejected," and Aldrich remained a member of the coaching staff for the rest of the season. The Hawks went on to win that year's Stanley Cup.

"I trust [Vincent] over the front office," former Chicago defenseman Nick Boynton told The Athletic. "He's a stand-up guy."

Aldrich left the Hawks after the 2010 campaign. He went on to have two stints as a volunteer coach at Houghton High School in Michigan sandwiched around a four-month stint at Miami University in Ohio. The college is investigating his time with the program, per The Athletic.

In June, a former Houghton player filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks alleging they gave Aldrich "positive references to future employers" despite knowledge of prior sexual assault allegations. Aldrich admitted to sexually assaulting the player in 2013.

The Blackhawks player who told The Athletic everybody on the team was aware of the allegations is frustrated the Hawks didn't do anything with the information provided by members of the roster.

"That doesn't bother me, that they let him take pictures with the Cup," he 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."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement to The Athletic about the allegations: "We have been in contact with the Club regarding the matter but there is no ongoing investigation. We do not have any further comment at this time."

Aldrich told The Athletic he had "no comment" when asked six questions about the allegations.