Earlier this morning, the NHL made the decision not to impose disciplinary action against Winnipeg Jets GM, Kevin Cheveldayoff for his involvement in the mishandling of the sexual abuse allegations against Bradley Aldrich.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 29, 2021
Here is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s statement on his meeting with Cheveldayoff this afternoon and his decision not to impose discipline on the Jets GM.
“While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with the same broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person,” said Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility for the Club’s actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”
Cheveldayoff was the Assistant General Manager for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. According to the Jenner & Block report, Cheveldayoff took part in a meeting at the United Center on May 23, 2010, including Jim Gary, Joel Quenneville, Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac, and John McDonough. The discussion that came after the Blackhawks ousted the San Jose Sharks from the Western Conference Finals was held to discuss the alleged sexual assault of Kyle Beach by video coach Brad Aldrich.
More from the NHL’s statement on the Cheveldayoff decision:
“As an Assistant General Manager at the time, Cheveldayoff, who reported directly to Stan Bowman, was the lowest ranking Club official in the room, and his position included no oversight responsibilities over the Club’s coaching staff. He was among the last to be included in the meeting; he was learning of the subject matter for the first time in the presence of his boss (then-GM Stan Bowman), his boss’ boss (then-CEO John McDonough) and the Head Coach (Joel Quenneville), who was Brad Aldrich’s direct superior; he had limited familiarity with the personnel involved; and he was essentially an observer to the discussion of possible next steps, which discussion, apparently, ended with Cheveldayoff believing that the matter was going to be investigated.
Cheveldayoff’s role within the Blackhawks’ organization at the time not only left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions relating to this matter, but as importantly, he was not thereafter even in a position to have sufficient information to assess whether or not the matter was being adequately addressed by the Blackhawks. In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the Club’s response.
Given these findings, the NHL has determined that Kevin Cheveldayoff should not be subject to discipline in the Brad Aldrich matter.”
So why is this happening this way? If I had to guess, I’d say the Jets probably decided not to fire (or force a resignation upon) Cheveldayoff, but needed some explanation for the general public. And now they have one straight from the NHL. After all, it’s not like we’ve heard of disciplinary decisions for Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac, or Joel Quenneville from the NHL in either direction. Yes, they all lost their jobs, but that’s not direct from the league. Plenty of executives/figures in sports history have faced disciplinary action (such as multi-year suspensions or life-time bans) in addition to being fired or resigning. But so far, Cheveldayoff is the only one to get an announcement like this. And therefore, I think its purpose, right or wrong, is to give the Jets an out.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.