I’ve been a Blackhawks fan for 30 years. I watched them as I grew up in Gary Indiana. My favorite player as a kid was Jeremy Roenick and the ’90s was a great time to be a Blackhawks fan. We didn’t win a Stanley Cup until I got older but I’ve always followed them.
To hear about the sexual assault allegations and more specifically how they were handled is beyond aggravating. “How can this happen?” “Who is responsible”? These are questions that we ask ourselves. All of the information is not out yet, but the information that is out is alarming.
First the story, (According to the information that has been released) The Chicago Blackhawks have had 2 lawsuits filed against them. 1st about Brad Aldrich who was the Blackhawks video coach between 2008-2010. He is being accused of sexual harassment of a former Blackhawks player, and 2nd a high school player on the hockey team in Michigan. Aldrich was a volunteer assistant coach of the high school hockey team. Aldrich received positive references from the Blackhawks which is believed to help him get the assistant coaching job in Michigan. Aldrich was convicted of Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving that student in 2013.
The player brought up Aldrich’s behavior to Paul Vincent, who was the Blackhawks Skills Coach at the time and he had a meeting with Team President John Mcdonaugh, GM Stan Bowman, and Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacIsaac. He told them what the players had confided in him and recommended that they contact The Chicago Sex Crimes Division. His request was denied.
I think what it comes down to is pretty simple. Are the allegations true? If so who is responsible for burying the request for reporting it to the Chicago Sex Crimes Division? I think that falls on Mcdonough’s lap because he was ultimately in charge.
As of right now, the Blackhawks have hired Jenner & Block LLP to do an independent investigation of the matter. The firm has no previous relationship with the Blackhawks or the NHL. What they turn up is going to tell the whole story.
Which leads us all to speculate of what could have happened and why. Who the players were and why didn’t they report it sooner. Going on Twitter will show you that everyone has an opinion of the matter. What everyone seems to be in agreement with is Bowman should be fired because Mcdonaugh is already gone.
What responsibility do the players have? In my opinion, none. The player brought up the issue and it was taken to senior management and they did nothing. That is what the problem is here. There was an article written by the Athletic stating “Every Guy on the Team Knew”. That may be true but it’s also possible they all didn’t find out at the same time.
When Jonathan Toews was asked when he found out about this he stated that he didn’t find out until training camp. By that time Aldrich was already gone so he figured it had been handled.
Which leads us to the problem of allegations. No one knows exactly what happened until after the investigation is done and all the facts have been put out. Until then it’s anyone’s guess.
With a month away from the draft something needs to be done quick. From a team perspective, how do they move forward with this black cloud looming over the team? How can free agents and prospects negotiate with Bowman in good faith after hearing the allegation news and not much from the organization?
One thing is for sure is that it is going to be an interesting summer.
Matt and I also did a podcast on this and gave our opinions. What do you think of the current situation? Both Audio and Video are below.