We’ve heard from a number of former and current Chicago Blackhawks players and coaches about what may or may not have happened, or what they did or did not know, regarding the allegations against the team and former video coach Brad Aldrich involving the incidents that happened during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Some named players, like Nick Boynton, have said that “everyone” on the team (players and management) knew what happened. Other, like Jonathan Toews, feel that statement is misleading.
On Tuesday, in an interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead, former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel said the entire locker room knew about the allegations against Aldrich.
From Westhead’s interview:
“…I’d say pretty much every player said, ‘Holy s–t’ and was shocked by it,” Sopel said. “We were all in the same dressing room. It was something that was discussed for at least two or three days. [Then head coach Joel] Quenneville was in the same office as [Aldrich]. We heard about it.”
In a statement to TSN, current Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was the Blackhawks head coach at the time of the allegations, says he first learned of the allegations this summer and that he contacted the Blackhawks organization to let them know he will support and participate in the independent review.
In the interview, Sopel goes on to say that the Blackhawks locker room was “abuzz” for days about Aldrich during the 2010 Western Conference Finals. This came after skills coach Paul Vincent met with Blackhawks management and asked them to report Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault of two players to Chicago police. Which didn’t happen.
He also says that current and former players and coaches are not speaking out publicly, out of fear that it will cost them their current or future opportunities.
More from Westhead’s interview:
“I understand that doing the right thing is hard. A lot of those guys who were on that 2009-10 team are still with the Blackhawks getting paid and they’re either still playing, or in broadcasting or coaching, management or scouting or being an ambassador for the team. That’s why they are not saying anything. Guys want to protect their jobs. But they should still be doing the right thing and telling the truth publicly about what happened.”
Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews said in his recent interview with The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus, that he didn’t learn of the allegations until the summer prior to the 2010-11 season, after Aldrich had already left the team. Yesterday, in his first media availability after being traded from the Blackhawks to the Edmonton Oilers, Duncan Keith did not comment when asked about his memory of the 2010 team and the current allegations against the Blackhawks.
We are still navigating murky waters in the legal process. The Blackhawks have filed two motions to have two lawsuits against them dropped, one stemming from the 2010 incidents, and one from an incident in 2013 involving Aldrich and a former Michigan high school student.
We will keep up with these stories as they continue to develop.