US ice hockey scandal: Team fined for sexual assault case | Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks were fined $2 million and two top executives resigned Tuesday for failing to act appropriately after a player accused a coach of sexual assault in 2010.
The North American Ice Hockey League (NHL) announced the fine on Tuesday after learning the results of an independent investigation into events that occurred during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup (National Championship) season.
The report also led to the resignation of General Manager Stan Bowman and Senior Vice President of Sports, Mexico.
The report came out last June, weeks after a former Blackhawk player sued former video coach Brad Aldrich.
The former player, whose identity has not been released, accuses Aldrich of sexually assaulting him and another teammate during the 2010 playoffs.
The report details how the team’s top executives learned of and discussed the accusation against Aldrich at a meeting on May 23, 2010, but took no action until June 14 not to distract from the Stanley Cup winning goal.
The report found that during this period, Aldrich also made unwelcome sexual advances to the Black Hawks’ intern.
Aldrich left the franchise at the end of the 2010 season and later moved on to work as a coach for a high school hockey team.
In 2014, he was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to “criminal sexual behavior” towards a 16-year-old.
“Today’s fine represents a direct and necessary response to the club’s failure to follow up and address the 2010 incident in a timely and appropriate manner,” NHL commissioner Gary Pittman said in a statement.
According to the association, some witnesses described the events reported in 2010 as sexual assault and others described it as a consensual act.
“Unfortunately, as a result of the club’s delay and insufficient follow-up upon learning of these events, as well as the passage of time, it has become difficult, if not impossible, to determine the details of the incident with sufficient certainty.”
“However, regardless of the exact nature of the incident itself, it is recognized and must be accepted that the job duties of both the persons involved (the coach and the player) made the confrontation – even if it was consensual – problematic and inappropriate.”
In its statement, the Chicago team admitted that its handling of the incident “did not live up to our standards or values.”
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