In a report from WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold, a former player from the 2010 Blackhawks team is suing the organization over allegations of harassment and sexual assault by a former assistant coach, and further alleges that the team was made aware of the incidents in question and did nothing about it.
The details of the alleged assault from the suit are laid out in the WBEZ report if you want to review them. They are disturbing, and include harassment, threats, and an unwanted sexual encounter. The player is not identified in the lawsuit.
According to McKinney and Arnold’s report, “[T]he lawsuit identified that coach as Brad Aldrich, who was a video coach for the Blackhawks at the time and is no longer with the organization.” The unidentified player is represented by Chicago lawyer Susan Loggans, who says her client “has had his life ruined by the episode.”
The Blackhawks released a statement in response to the lawsuit, according to the WBEZ report:
In a statement, the team said it regards sexual harassment as an important issue but questioned the legitimacy of the lawsuit.
“The Chicago Blackhawks take the allegations asserted by a former player very seriously,” said Adam Rogowin, the Blackhawks vice president for communications. “Based on our investigation, we believe the allegations against the organization lack merit and we are confident the team will be absolved of any wrongdoing.
“As this is a pending litigation matter, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further,” he said.
In the lawsuit, the unidentified player says that he reported Aldrich’s alleged 2010 misconduct to the team’s mental skills coach, James F. Gary, according to McKinney and Arnold. Further, the lawsuit alleges that prior to the conduct involving the player, the team was “made aware that the same team employee had sexually assaulted a teammate” of the player.
The player also states in the lawsuit that the NHL Player’s Association was made aware of the incident and player’s complaints, but nothing was done.
In 2013, Aldrich was convicted of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student, according to Michigan’s public sex offender registry. According to Loggans, it was learning in 2019 about Aldrich’s later conviction that prompted the unnamed player to bring forward action against the Blackhawks organization: “When he learned that this person, in fact, had gone on to damage young people, he became really upset with the fact that potentially this had happened because the Blackhawk team had not responded to his advising them of what had happened,” Loggans told WBEZ. “He was really upset because he had believed that it was swept under the rug. He was told that it didn’t happen, that it must have been his fault, and that somehow he brought this on himself …. He felt had they responded properly, that maybe somebody else wouldn’t have been injured.”
We will bring you more on this story as it develops, and again, there is considerably more context and detail in the WBEZ report here.