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2nd-Winningest NHL Coach Resigns Amid Scandal

Joel Quenneville was head coach in Chicago when assistant coach allegedly assaulted player
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2021 10:15 AM CDT
Updated Oct 29, 2021 8:57 AM CDT
'John Doe' NHL Player Speaks Out in Abuse Case
Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville looks on from the bench during the first period of a game against the Boston Bruins Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla.   (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

(Newser) Update: Longtime NHL coach Joel Quenneville is out of a job over a sexual abuse scandal. Quenneville, who resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers, was coaching the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 when young player Kyle Beach was allegedly assaulted by an assistant coach. Beach says the team did nothing to support him at the time. Quenneville has said he didn't learn of the alleged abuse until this summer; Beach says that can't be true. "I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered," said Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in NHL history, per the AP. "My former team, the Blackhawks, failed Kyle and I own my share of that." Our original story from Thursday follows:

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The NHL is dealing with a sexual abuse scandal that involves a young player and a coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, along with an alleged cover-up by the team back in 2010. Coverage:

  • Allegation: Kyle Beach says then-team video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him in Aldrich's apartment and threatened to derail his hockey career if he told anyone, reports the Chicago Tribune. Beach was 20 at the time and Aldrich 27. Beach says that Aldrich may have drugged him before the alleged assault and that he was slipping in and out of consciousness.
  • No response: In a lawsuit against the team, Beach says he told another coach, who told his superiors, but the team did nothing as it prepared for the home stretch of what would be a successful championship season, per ESPN. Aldrich resigned from the team, but only after the season was over.

  • Going public: Earlier this week, a local law firm released the results of an investigation commissioned by the team, and the results backed up Beach's version of events. Beach was identified as "John Doe" in the report, but he revealed his identity in an interview with Canada's TSN. Now 31, he never played a regular-season game in the NHL, but he currently plays in Germany.
  • His memories: "To be honest, I was scared mostly," Beach tells TSN of the aftermath of the alleged assault. "I was fearful. I had my career threatened. ... And I didn't know what to do as a 20-year-old. I would never dream, or you could never imagine being put in this situation by somebody who's supposed to be there to help you." Beach says he turned to drugs and alcohol to cope and has since kicked his addictions.
  • Fallout: The team has apologized and accepted a $2 million fine, and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has resigned, per WLS; then-Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville (now coaching Florida) will meet with NHL chief Gary Bettman to discuss his role in how the team handled things. The team's statement reads in part: "Our deepest apologies to [Beach] for what he has gone through and the organization's failure to promptly respond when he bravely brought this matter to light in 2010. No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players from predatory behavior."
  • Accused: Aldrich later pleaded guilty to sexual criminal conduct involving a 16-year-old boy in Michigan, where he was coaching in 2013. Beach tells TSN that reading about that case gave him the courage to come forward. "I'm sorry I didn't do more, when I could, to make sure it didn't happen to him."
(Read more NHL stories.)

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