Three Blackhawks players from 2010 — incl. Brent Sopel & Nick Boynton — have now indicated Bradley Aldrich’s alleged sexual assaults were widely known.
That comes after a TSN report that John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac were told, too.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) June 25, 2021
Read this entire article from The Chicago Sun-Times if you think the headline is clickbait. There needs to be a serious investigation as to who helped cover up this brutal story.
Chicago Sun Times: Former Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault of two Hawks players in May 2010 was known about by the entire team during the 2010 playoffs, according to a report Friday by The Athletic.
‘‘Every single guy on the team knew,’’ an unidentified player from the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team told The Athletic.
Nick Boynton, a defenseman on the 2010 team, told The Athletic he was aware of the incident and trusted then-skills coach Paul Vincent to alert upper management and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
Vincent told TSN this month that he informed then-president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, executive Al MacIsaac and skills coach James Gary about Aldrich’s alleged assault at a meeting in 2010, but that the group of Hawks executives rejected his request to report the incident to the police.
Brent Sopel, another defenseman on the 2010 team, tweeted Friday that The Athletic’s report was ‘‘accurate.’’
‘‘The front office staff should be in jail,’’ Sopel said in a separate tweet. ‘‘The NHL is showing [their] true colours. . . . This is absolutely disgusting that the NHL is doing nothing.’’
The Hawks are facing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court from one of the two former players — identified under the pseudonym ‘‘John Doe’’ in the lawsuit — who alleged Aldrich assaulted him.
Aldrich ‘‘sent . . . inappropriate text messages,’’ ‘‘turned on porn and began to masturbate in front of [Doe] . . . without his consent’’ and ‘‘threatened to injure [Doe] . . . physically, financially and emotionally if [Doe] . . . did not engage in sexual activity,’’ according to the lawsuit filed May 7.
The player reported Aldrich’s assault to Gary, but Gary ‘‘did nothing’’ and instead ‘‘convinced [Doe] . . . that the sexual assault was his fault,’’ according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages from the Hawks and claims the player continues to suffer from the trauma of the incident. The player told radio station WBEZ this week that the sexual assault ‘‘took me out of the high point of my game.’’
The Hawks filed a motion June 14 to dismiss the lawsuit, but that motion was based on legal grounds — arguing the statute of limitations had expired and the player didn’t exhaust his legal options before suing — rather than the alleged facts of the assault, according to court documents obtained by the Sun-Times. The Hawks also filed an objection to discovery requests by the player’s lawyer this week.
The Hawks denied wrongdoing in a statement last month to the Sun-Times but haven’t responded to repeated requests for comment since. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic on Friday that the NHL has ‘‘been in contact with the [Hawks] regarding the matter, but there is no ongoing investigation.’’
Aldrich left the Hawks after the 2010 season but continued a pattern of inappropriate behavior. He briefly was employed by the Miami (Ohio) University men’s hockey team in 2012 but resigned ‘‘under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult,’’ the university’s general counsel told a Michigan police officer in 2013, according to Michigan police documents obtained by the Sun-Times. Miami University recently hired a third-party firm to investigate Aldrich’s time at the school, according to numerous reports.
Aldrich later became a volunteer coach with the Houghton (Michigan) High School boys hockey team. He pleaded guilty in December 2013 — and was sentenced in February 2014 to nine months in prison and five years of probation — for a criminal sexual-contact incident with a 16-year-old member of the team.
The victim of that assault told police in September 2013 that Aldrich — after a team party — climbed into bed with, sexually touched and performed oral sex on him and also forced him to sexually touch Aldrich, despite the victim’s frequent objections, according to Michigan police documents.
The victim of that assault filed a separate lawsuit against the Hawks on May 26 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the Hawks ‘‘provided positive references to future employers for Bradley Aldrich despite having knowledge of his sexual assaults’’ and seeking $50,000 in damages. The Hawks requested a time extension in that case Wednesday, according to court records.
Even after Michigan police began investigating Aldrich’s assault of the high school student in September 2013, Hawks head of human resources Marie Sutera told police the team would require ‘‘a search warrant or subpoena to give out any information’’ about Aldrich’s tenure, according to Michigan police documents.
Bowman, MacIsaac, Gary and Sutera are still employed by the Hawks. Vincent now works as a volunteer assistant coach at Dartmouth University.
Rick Westhead from The Athletic who works for TSN as well broke this story because (I’m assuming) traditional media outlets associated with the NHL partner wanted to ignore it. This is why independent media is so incredibly important. If it wasn’t for Rick and the Atheltic, NOTHING would have been done.
Rick covered the story back in May but for some reason, there’s been radio silence since then until this full report appeared in the Athletic.
If you really want to understand Sportsnet and TSN (to a lesser extent, they seem to been running with it now) efforts to collude against threats, look no further than the effort that went into the intentional lack of coverage of the story itself.
If an NHL media partner covered it, it was by repurposing an AP article written by someone NOT associated with an NHL partner to mitigate fallout.
TSN and Sportsnet’s parent companies (Bell/Rogers) are equal stakeholders in the ownership group of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club. Bell and Rogers control the media landscape and narrative in Canada and as principal owners of a portion of the league, and it sure looks like they have spent the better part of ten years making sure the information related to criminal sexual abuse of NHL players won’t affect their bottom line.
Only AFTER the Athletic piece did employees from TSN and SN (to a lesser extent) start to acknowledge the sexual assault allegations and even that has been sparse. Almost like it was an arms-length story.
Friedge is one of a very select group who was willing to break ranks and acknowledge the cover-up. He didn’t comment on it or write the piece (he’s still an employee) but at least he acknowledged it.
Of course, media companies who own an NHL franchise aren’t going to demand transparency for victims of sexual assault within their organization if they can bury and control the narrative. In conjunction with the Chicago Blackhawks, Bill Daley and Gary Bettman, they were really good at it for 12 years. To them, it’s just, good, business.
Let me explain how this works in 2 minutes or less:
When I was at The Fan we would be told (on a very regular basis) ‘not to eat our own. What that meant was ‘we don’t advocate negative content about any Rogers assets or partnerships.”
We were told to stay away from several hot-button issues and people where the NHL’s reputation was concerned.
I was told by my PD the time that Rogers wouldn’t like it if we had Dan Carcillo on to talk about abuse in the NHL because of their partnership with the NHL.
We heard the whispers of what Aldrich did
Hard to believe that most ppl working in the organization didn’t knowhttps://t.co/0cgugbCrRx
— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 27, 2021
My partner (at the time) Darren Millard was scared to hurt his chances of being employed by an NHL team so he refused to be part of the Carcillo interview three years ago ( I kinda get that). THAT’S the fear the NHL and its media partners have put into anyone associated with their product.
He also said the Cleveland Indians’ cultural appropriation story was a non-factor (Rogers owns the Blue Jays and is an MLB shareholder).
It happens all the time at every outlet and any SR reporter/employee that says it doesn’t, is lying.
So color me shocked to hear they, along with their big media partners, chose their bottom line and reputation over siding with survivors of sexual abuse under the NHL’s banner.
I don’t blame employees or reporters associated with the NHL for purposely ignoring the story. They are fed the same directives as I was and in the current media climate, career preservation wins out over doing the right thing 9.9 times out of ten. Their livelihoods depend on lying on behalf of their employer for their biggest client so they’ll buy into the collusion against the victims of sexual assault.
Sopel’s right. The Blackhawks front office, NHL brass, and their media partners should ALL be investigated for their part in willingly perpetrating sexual abuse. Thanks to their efforts with a letter of recommendation in hand from Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, Brad Aldrich went on to serially abuse dozens of young boys, eventually being convicted of those crimes in 2013. It would also be nice to find out why and who was involved in burying this for so long.
After leaving the Blackhawks, former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich was convicted in 2013 in Michigan of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student and is now on that state’s registry of sex offenders, Chicago public radio station WBEZ reported in a series of stories based on legal filings, police records and interviews.
If we find out the NHL and the Blackhawks allowed this alleged assault to go unpunished, they aided and abetted in the abuse of every kid Aldrich assaulted after the fact. The NHL doesn’t mind holding everyone hostage from time to time when Gary and Bill say so.