UPDATED 2:13 PM PT – Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks general manager, Stan Bowman, has stepped down after reports revealed the team failed to follow through with an investigation into sexual assault allegations against a former assistant coach.
On Tuesday, the NHL announced they were fining the Blackhawks $2 million for allegedly mishandling sexual assault allegations against former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich. A former player came out saying Aldrich sexually assaulted him and that the team failed to do anything about it after he informed one of their employees.
“What is clear is that after being informed of Aldrich’s alleged sexual harassment and misconduct with a player, no action was taken for three weeks,” said the attorney investigating the case, Reid Schar.
The Blackhawks organization released a statement from Bowman following his resignation that read, “eleven years ago, while serving in my first year as general manager, I was made aware of potential inappropriate behavior by a then-video coach involving a player. I promptly reported the matter to the then-president and CEO who committed to handling the matter. I relied on the direction of my superior that he would take appropriate action. Looking back now knowing he did not handle the matter promptly, I regret assuming he would do so.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 26, 2021
The alleged victim, now being referred to as “John Doe,” is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
The attorney behind the investigation, Schar, said he’s used to taking down corrupt politicians and is using his same tactics to tackle this case.
“Our investigation was independent and it was thorough. The Blackhawks directed us to all the facts wherever they led and that is exactly what we did,” stated Schar. He said so far, he’s examined 100 gigabytes of electronic records from 145 people, along with 49 boxes of hard copy records all pertaining to Aldrich.
After the Blackhawks parted ways with Aldrich in 2010, he moved to Michigan where he would later be convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in 2013. CEO Danny Wirtz called the report disturbing and difficult to read.
“It is clear that in 2010, the executives of this organization put team performance above all else,” said Wirtz.
The former Blackhawks player said he’s grateful the truth is now being recognized, despite the detriment he says was brought to his life over the past decade.