Blackhawks launching independent review of 2010 sexual assault allegations
The Chicago Blackhawks have hired a former federal prosecutor to lead an independent review of the sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010, team CEO Danny Wirtz wrote in an internal memo on Monday, according to The Athletic's Mark Lazerus.
“We want to reiterate to you that we take the allegations described in these lawsuits very seriously,” Wirtz wrote. “They in no way reflect this organization’s culture or values.”
In May, an unnamed former Blackhawks player sued the organization and said Aldrich sexually assaulted him and a teammate over a decade ago. Earlier this month, it came out that a former Michigan high school player also sued the franchise. The player says the Blackhawks provided a positive reference letter to future employers despite knowing about the prior sexual assault allegations, according to TSN's Rick Westhead.
Aldrich was previously convicted in Michigan of criminal sexual conduct involving an unnamed student in 2013, according to WBEZ Chicago, which adds that the former coach is a registered sex offender in that state. It's not known if it is the same student who recently sued the Blackhawks.
Last week, former Blackhawks associate coach John Torchetti said Chicago's management group was aware of the allegations the club's former player made against Aldrich, and there was a meeting around the time of the Western Conference Final in 2010 to discuss the matter. However, the team decided not to take further action.
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who was the director of player personnel for the Blackhawks in 2010, said on Sunday he wasn't involved in the meeting and was unaware of what was happening at the time.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic's Lazerus, Katie Strang, and Scott Powers last week that the league has spoken to the Blackhawks, but the NHL isn't investigating the team right now.