(CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT, HOMOPHOBIA)
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that it keeps getting worse, but even though there were some positive and inspiring things that happened yesterday, it continues to get worse, and it’s exhausting trying to follow it all. We’ll try to encapsulate as much as we can for you here.
Worth remembering that 37 people contacted by the law firm investigating the Black Hawks scandal either did not respond to a request for an interview or flat out refused to cooperate.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) October 27, 2021
With the revelation that 37 people refused to speak with the investigators into the sexual assaults committed by former Chicago Blackhawks coach Brad Aldrich, it shows what many have suspected: Blackhawks players have been blatantly lying about having any knowledge of what happened in 2010.
And then the bombshell dropped that John Doe was choosing to reveal his identity (after a piss-poor job by both the team and the investigators to provide proper anonymity, and a rather unscrupulous website going out of it’s way to prioritize revealing who it was). Kyle Beach, a 1st round draft pick of the Hawks in 2008 spoke with TSN’s Rick Westhead in an emotional, heart-wrenching discussion about what happened, how he has dealt with what Aldrich did and the way the Blackhawks, the NHL and NHLPA failed him, and his guilt that he didn’t speak out earlier.
Kyle Beach, John Doe in the Blackhawks investigation, talks to @rwesthead about how his NHL experience 'changed forever,’ his reaction to the findings, and support for other victims of sexual assault.— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 27, 2021
VIDEO: https://t.co/hVG7ZYiY1d pic.twitter.com/vcQYxINOX8
Kyle Beach — John Doe — apologized. It's hard to fathom. It was gut-wrenching and agonizing and even infuriating to watch.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 28, 2021
It also showed more courage and humanity than any of the feckless men who failed him.
New column: https://t.co/K8IdJLgVI7
The Chicago Blackhawks released a statement, and it literally did not help.
A statement from the Chicago Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/x1XbMXDiyA— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 27, 2021
And why doesn’t this help? Actions always speak louder than words:
New: After Rocky and Danny Wirtz apologized Tuesday for the actions of former team video coach and sexual predator Brad Aldrich and said they wanted to settle the claims of John Does 1 and 2, the Blackhawks filed court motions asking a judge to dismiss both lawsuits. pic.twitter.com/ymeOLsyBu2— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) October 27, 2021
Meanwhile, another key figure in the investigation may face actual consequences for his conduct:
New: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which licenses certified counsellors, has opened an investigation of "Doc" Jim Gary, who is not an actual doctor, and who allegedly told "John Doe 1" the sexual abuse he suffered was his own fault. https://t.co/2drwbsUIjn— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) October 27, 2021
So let’s go back to the 37 people who refused to cooperate with the investigation. While we may never find out unless someone actually comes out and names players and staff, it’s becoming glaringly obvious that there are certain players who knew, and their responses yesterday were as telling as they were upsetting. Let’s start off with the most hated man in Vancouver, Duncan Keith.
Keith "I know there was talk that players knew, and maybe some guys did know but not everybody knew. Maybe that's hard for people to understand but that's the truth. Not everybody knew and I didn't know that that was happening and those things happened to that person"— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) October 27, 2021
Please remember that Duncan Keith said TODAY that he had no knowledge of the assault at the time, that Brad Aldrich "seemed like a nice guy", and that he never interacted with Brad... the literal video coach.— Gabe Foley (@NHLFoley) October 27, 2021
Keith wore an A with the team at the time.
Just... just awful to say.
Duncan Keith spoke this morning about the Chicago sexual assault scandal ... (Long thread)— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) October 27, 2021
On initial thoughts:
"First of all, your thoughts go to the person who was affected by this. It took a lot for him to speak out and bring this forward. That took a lot of courage. (1/3)
What we are being asked to believe here, is that one of the members of the team’s leadership group had absolutely no knowledge of an incident that was by all accounts in the details of the report, spreading through the team on and off the ice.
And then there’s the Captain, Jonathan Toews. Last night, he returned to the Blackhawks lineup from the COVID protocol list, and was asked to comment after the game about the situation. Much like the team’s statement, this didn’t help, and also showed that there’s been some out and out lying going on here.
Toews was asked, in this question, if his opinion of Bowman and MacIsaac has changed. This was his full response: pic.twitter.com/38CW7zzmBj— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 28, 2021
So Toews knew at training camp following the Cup win, but Duncan Keith didn’t until this year? Why on earth would anyone believe this?
Let’s move on to Joel Quenneville, then. In a statement yesterday, he said he would be meeting with Gary Bettman on Thursday.
Joel Quenneville says he’ll meet with Gary Bettman in NYC tomorrow. Says a team meeting was held today. pic.twitter.com/UUj5g1OnCq— Matt Porter (@mattyports) October 27, 2021
So, obviously given the seriousness of the situation, the Florida Panthers gave Quenneville the evening off, to prepare for an in-person meeting with the commissioner of the NHL to discuss his role in the cover-up of a sexual assault of a player on the team he coached, right? No, Florida, and their 6-0-0 record to start the season trotted out this coach who is still lying about what he knew (as directly addressed by the interview with Beach last night), and it’s honestly shocking, even for a league that just consistently does the wrong thing.
The most frustrating part of this, is that it’s literally Quenneville’s whole deal when the incident happened: He can’t be bothered to deal with this right now, because there’s a hockey game to play and it’s more important.
Joel Quenneville needs to be gone. Kevin Cheveldayoff, Marc Bergevin, and yes Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman need to resign as well. Every person directly involved in failing Kyle Beach should be banished from this sport, and never again be allowed to tarnish its admittedly shameful reputation even further. Anything less than the expulsion of Quenneville, Cheveldayoff and Bergevin is a complete and utter failure on the part of the league. And Gary Bettman’s legacy should always have him known that he was the one running the show when this happened. It was on his watch. The buck stops at the top, always.
There’s been so much coming out about this, it’s genuinely overwhelming to try and keep track of it all, but one thing I stumbled across was the timing of the incident.
139 witnesses, including 21 players and five of nine Black Aces who were called up. On May 8 or 9, 2010 John Doe had a sexual encounter with Aldrich. Doe said the encounter was non-consensual. Aldrich said it was consensual...— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 26, 2021
Game Four of the Blackhawks/Canucks series was on May 7. Game Five was on May 9.
We’ll continue to keep you updated with new developments, including any possible punishment from the NHL for Quenneville and Cheveldayoff.
So I guess we should start with the Hawks hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs. David Kampf’s first goal of the year tied the game in the third, and William Nylander got the OT winner to give the Leafs a 3-2 win in Chicago.
It’s not at all surprising that the one time a person actually wants the Boston Bruins to win they stink up the joint. 4-1 Florida Panthers. Fuck them and fuck Joel Quenneville.
The Dallas Stars gave up a goal to Jonathan Marchessault with 1:02 left in the third, and in OT Evgenii Dadonov scored to give Vegas a 3-2 win in Dallas last night.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Philadelphia Flyers got some late third period officiating that helped them, this time stealing a 5-3 win in Edmonton. I’d be madder, but it’s hard to be upset about Oilers regulation losses, to be honest.
Nine games on the NHL slate for this evening, starting in Tampa as the Arizona Coyotes continue to look for their first win of the season in a clash with the Lightning... The Calgary Flames continue their road swing with a visit to Pittsburgh... Carolina looks to move to 6-0-0 as they host the Boston Bruins... The Blues also put their unbeaten streak on the line as they are home to the Colorado Avalanche... Buffalo rolls into Anaheim to take on the Ducks... Minnesota is in Seattle for a meeting with the Kraken... Winnipeg are at the Staples Center to battle the Los Angeles Kings, while Montreal is up state in San Jose to play the Sharks, and the Canucks are back at it taking on the Flyers, before a Saturday showdown against the Edmonton Oilers. Full pregame coverage coming up later today!