By Steve Keating
– Former Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will not be disciplined by the National Hockey League over the team’s sex abuse scandal, commissioner Gary Bettman said on Friday.
An independent investigation conducted by the Blackhawks into allegations that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted player Kyle Beach during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs has resulted in a number of team executives submitting their resignations.
In the independent report, Aldrich stated that the encounter was entirely consensual.
Cheveldayoff, now Winnipeg Jets general manager, was cleared of any culpability with the NHL explaining in a statement that his role with the Blackhawks left him “without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions relating to this matter.
“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 Bettman in a statement after meeting with Cheveldayoff on Friday.
“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.”
The 107-page independent report released on Tuesday detailed a lack of action by Blackhawks senior management, who were made aware of an incident but did not want to deal with the distraction while playing in the Stanley Cup finals.
According to the report, Cheveldayoff was among the executive group that met on May 23, 2010 to discuss the alleged sexual assault.
“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,” concluded the NHL.
“Given these findings, the NHL has determined that Kevin Cheveldayoff should not be subject to discipline in the Brad Aldrich matter.”
Also in that May 23 meeting was then coach Joel Quenneville, who met with Bettman on Thursday and resigned as Florida Panthers coach hours later.
Following the release of the report Blackhawks general manager Bowman resigned and announced he was “stepping aside” as GM of the U.S. men’s 2022 Beijing Olympic team.
Bowman’s right-hand man, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, also resigned while then-Blackhawks president John McDonough was fired in 2020.
Beach, who was referred to as “John Doe” in the report, revealed on Wednesday that he was the player who raised sexual assault allegations nL1N2RO08F and filed a lawsuit against his former team.
Blackhawks owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz on Friday sent a letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame requesting that Aldrich’s name be removed from the Stanley Cup.
“Aldrich’s involvement with the team during the 2010 season has cast a pall on the players’ extraordinary work that year,” Wirtz said in a letter addressed to Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald.
“The names of some of hockey’s most talented athletes appear on the Stanley Cup. But so does the name ‘Brad Aldrich’ whose role as video coach made him eligible to the engraving.
“His conduct disqualifies him, however, and it was a mistake to submit his name. We are sorry we allowed it to happen.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)