The Chicago Blackhawks say they will be more open this time around, pledging to release the findings of an independent investigation into former assistant coach Brad Aldrich allegedly sexually assaulting two former players.
“We will share results with you, our partners and our fans and will promptly implement changes to address the findings and any shortcomings of our organization,” Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in an internal memo Monday, according to The Associated Press.” “I can assure you that we are using this process to engage in the self-reflection necessary to better our organization and ensure that our workplace is safe and inclusive.”
“Danny said it pretty clearly there that this independent review is going to be something that we’ll share results with our employees, our partners, our fans and whatnot,” president and general manager Stan Bowman said. “I intend to cooperate fully with the investigation like I said last time we met.”
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According to TSN, the investigation goes back to 2010, when Bowman and other team executives were in a meeting about the allegations against Aldrich. Nothing was reported to the NHL or the police. Aldrich resigned from his position with the Blackhawks in 2012 “under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult.”
Canadian sports network TSN reported earlier this summer that Aldrich's behavior while with the Blackhawks was "an open secret," according to a former team marketing official who still works in professional hockey.
“Brad would routinely befriend young interns and invite them to his apartment in Chicago to watch March Madness basketball and other sports,” TSN’s source said. “I was told to steer clear of him because he had tried something at his apartment on a few players. This was not something that only a few people knew about. The entire training staff, a lot of people knew.”
However, allegedly in part due to the Blackhawks’ inaction, Aldrich went on to coach hockey at Miami University of Ohio and Houghton High School in Michigan. Aldrich was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a 17-year-old Michigan hockey player in 2013, while Miami University is also reportedly conducting an internal investigation.
The Blackhawks’ independent investigation came after the filing of two lawsuits against the team – one by the Michigan athlete and another by a member of Chicago’s 2009-10 team. The ex-Blackhawk, who filed the lawsuit May 7 and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages, said Aldrich assaulted him, he told a team employee and the organization did nothing. The lawsuit also alleges Aldrich assaulted another unidentified member of the Blackhawks.
TSN reported that two Blackhawks players told former skills coach Paul Vincent of Aldrich’s transgressions in May 2010. Vincent said he asked the team to report the allegations to the Chicago police, but the request was denied.