Joel Quenneville Speaks on Kyle Beach Abuse and Cover-up for the First Time

On Tuesday, former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville appeared on an episode of “The Cam & Strick Podcastfeaturing former NHL player Cam Janssen and reporter Andy Strickland. In the episode, he spoke at length about him resigning from the Florida Panthers, his desire to get back into coaching in the NHL, and the circumstances impacting his ability to do so.

All of which tie back to his role in the Kyle Beach sexual assault cover-up in 2010, when he was the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. And, for the first time, Quenneville speaks at length about the details surrounding his involvement in the aftermath of Beach coming forward to the team 14 years ago, the meetings that were mentioned in the investigation by Jenner & Block, whose report was published in October of 2021.

Quenneville says more in this interview than I expected. At the same time, he doesn’t say much about some elements of the situation. Full credit to Strickland who asked some very pointed questions and got a lot more responses than I anticipated.

He asked the former Blues and Blackhawks head coach when he learned about the sexual assault:

“First time I heard anything about sexual assault, sexual abuse (was) on my way to the commissioner’s office (2 years ago). … I blame myself, that meeting, that I didn’t push the envelope to find out the level of seriousness. I wasn’t informed what had took place.”

That doesn’t add up with the report from Jenner & Block, which said Quenneville personally attended a meeting in which he, former Blackhawks team president John McDonough and former Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman were all present. Strickland pressed on that issue.

Quenneville said when he was called into an office to discuss “something” — he didn’t know what when he was brought into a meeting that was “already ongoing” — he was told that video coach Brad Aldrich was sending inappropriate text messages to Rockford IceHogs players, going to bars with them and socializing with them in a way that was “bothering” the prospects.

At which point, according to Quenneville, he was simply informed of that and sent on his way. He claims to have not known about the specifics of the allegations until he was on his way to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after the report was published.

During that meeting, Quenneville says all parties involved came to an understanding that it made sense for him to step away from the game. However, Quenneville says he did not expect his time away from the game to be as long as it has been thus far.

Quenneville takes some responsibility for not asking more questions about what was going on. And he says he would have handled it very differently had he known the full extent of what was happening.

“I’m not blaming anybody. But the upper management, I had a name for them. I called them ‘the firm.’ Not in a derogatory way at all. But just the way they did business. It was a matter of fact, you know, legal, business-like law firm,” Quenneville said. “And that’s basically what it was. You knew your job and job description. You knew your role. You knew to stay in your lane. And you knew who the boss or bosses were.”

Quenneville said he did reach out to Beach after he read the investigation report, and that he did speak with Beach after some time when Beach reached back out to him. He did not speak about the nature of their conversation.

You can watch the entire episode of the podcast here. The interview with Quenneville begins around 1:17 into the episode if you want to fast forward and runs to about the 2:01 mark.

written by

Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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