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Wake With Elias- October 27, 2021: “Justice”, NHL Style

The fallout of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal has begun, and it’s not nearly enough.

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Taylor Wilder/NHLI via Getty Images

(Content warning: Sexual assault/harassment, homophobia)

The independent investigation into accusations of sexual assault by Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 released its findings yesterday, and it’s extremely damning, as the fallout continues.

Chicago VP and GM Stan Bowman resigned, and resigned the role of GM for the Olympic Men’s Hockey Team for USA Hockey. All upper management that were involved that were still with the team are no longer a part of the organization, and the NHL levied a $2 Million fine against the team for its handling of the situation.

From a distance, it’s a horrifying mess. When you get closer, you can see that the punishments are only just beginning, and some may never be held to account for their involvement.

A lot of the blame has fallen, and rightfully so, on the shoulders of Bowman, but there’s plenty more to go around. When the incident was first reported to the team, a meeting was held to discuss it, attended by members of management and the coaching staff.

This is in May 2010, in and around the time the Blackhawks and Canucks were doing battle in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. How the team dealt with this allegation is simply disgusting, though sadly far from surprising.

And let’s not forget what current Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said just a couple months ago:

As far as the four main executives involved, they’re going to have to get approval to be re-hired, and it makes you wonder why this is even an option? Would you want any of these guys to be involved with your team?

And then there’s the matter of Cheveldayoff and Quennville, both of whom have clearly lied about what they knew regarding this incident.

Then there’s John Doe’s teammates. We now know that the number of players who knew about the incident was far more than first thought. And during the investigation, John Doe testified that he was harassed by other members of the team during practices. And to make matters worse, in addition to this incident, there was another reported incident AFTER the allegations were brought to management by then Skills Coach Paul Vincent.

S/T @taylorbaird

After leaving the Blackhawks, Aldrich got a job with the University of Miami (Ohio)’s hockey program. And while they did a background check on Aldrich, they did not complete it until after they hired him, and found nothing because Aldrich had no police record. An investigation found that Aldrich assaulted two young men there, and at his next job working in his hometown for Houghton High School in Michigan, where he committed another assault, and pled guilty to a charge of 4th degree sexual assault of a minor.

It should also be noted that before working with the Blackhawks, Aldrich worked for the University of Notre Dame’s hockey program. Notre Dame apparently refused to cooperate in the investigation.

Besides various members of management and the coaching staff who still need to answer for this, the NHLPA and it’s head, Donald Fehr come off looking pretty bad through this.

The team did nothing until after they won the Cup. Brad Aldrich received a ring, and allowed to have his day with the Cup, and then was fired.

And then we get to the NHL’s punishment.

At first glance, you might think this is a powerful statement by the league. You would be incorrect, for two reasons. First, this amount to a billionaire is like a $200 fine to you and I. A mere inconvenience, but nothing that is going to fundamentally alter your universe.

Second, there’s this: This is $1 Million less than the league fined the New Jersey Devils over the Ilya Kovalchuk 17 year contract fiasco (half of which was refunded by the league). This is something so much more severe and damaging to the integrity of the league and the game itself than salary cap circumvention.

So now we await the Commissioner’s meetings with Cheveldayoff and Quenneville to see what, if any consequences they will face. There’s also the matter of the assistant GM of the USA’s Olympic team, Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin, currently under investigation by SafeSport over his role in an incident with Pittsburgh’s AHL team. Wilkes-Barre coach Clark Donatelli sexually assaulted the wife of assistant coach Jarrod Skalde on a team road trip. It is alleged Guerin, who was Pittsburgh’s Assistant GM at the time, urged Skalde to keep the incident quiet. They later fired Skalde, under the guise of COVID-related cutbacks. Skalde is currently suing the team for wrongful dismissal.

Onto less important matters, the Canucks came up a goal short in a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild last night. In a game that can be viewed as a good measuring stick in terms of how the Canucks compare to the best in the West, the answer was: not quite good enough.

Still a team that seems to pay dearly for defensive miscues, the Canucks got behind and weren’t able to catch up, despite another late goal from the heart and soul of this franchise, Bo Horvat.

This is something we’re going to have to get used to this season. Close, but no cigar-kinda games where they’re not necessarily outplayed, and maybe even deserve to win, but just can’t get past the post.

Next up for the Canucks is a return engagement with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, and hopefully we don’t see the same officiating crew that worked their previous meeting.

Meanwhile, Travis Hamonic has reported to Abbotsford to begin working out with the AHL Canucks. Given what we saw last night, getting Hamonic back in the lineup down the road might be a blessing.

In other action around the NHL last night, Andrew Mangiapane continues to light up the league, scoring a pair for the second straight night as the Calgary Flames dispatched the New Jersey Devils 5-3.

A three goal third period was the difference as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 last night in Pittsburgh.

A Riley Smith shorthanded goal was the winner as Vegas defeated Colorado 3-1 for just their second win of the season.

Nashville came up with a big win over the San Jose Sharks last night, by a 4-1 score. Filip Forsberg had the GWG in this one.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored at 18:40 of the third to tie it, then notched the winner 19 seconds later to give Winnipeg a 4-3 win over Anaheim last night.

After raising a banner for the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans Stanley Cup win, Brandon Tanev led the Seattle Kraken to a 5-1 stomping of the Montreal Canadiens with a two goal performance. That was the Kraken’s first home ice victory.

Tonight’s action sees the Boston Bruins trying to snap the Florida Panthers undefeated streak to start the season... Detroit is in Washington to take on the Capitals... The Toronto Maple Leafs might have found just what they need to snap out of their funk in a game with the COVID-addled Chicago Blackhawks... Vegas is back at it tonight in Dallas after a big win in Colorado last night... And the 5-0-0 Edmonton Oilers are hosting the Flyers, one day before Philly comes to Rogers Arena.