Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


After a nearly three-year exile for what the NHL deemed their “inadequate response” to Kyle Beach’s allegations of sexual assault by Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich, former head coach Joel Quenneville, general manager Stan Bowman and executive Al MacIsaac were reinstated by the NHL on Monday. They are now eligible to seek a job with an NHL team effective immediately and can start working as soon as July 10.

The league indefinitely banished all three following the release of the Jenner & Block report, an independent review of the allegations and response, commissioned by the Blackhawks, in October 2021. According to the report, all three men, along with Blackhawks president John McDonough, executive Jay Blunk and assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff (now the GM of the Winnipeg Jets) were told of Beach’s allegations during a meeting following the Blackhawks’ victory in Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference final, which clinched their berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Mental skills coach Jim Gary, who brought the allegations to management after hearing them from skills coach Paul Vincent, said Quenneville “appeared angry and was concerned about upsetting team chemistry,” the report read. Bowman told the investigators that Quenneville “said that it was hard for the team to get where they were, and they could not deal with this issue now.”

The allegations stayed in that room, and Aldrich was allowed to continue working as a video coach. His name was etched into the Stanley Cup and he got his day with the trophy. Quenneville gave him a positive job evaluation.

Three years later, Aldrich was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Michigan.

Upon the release of the report, more than 11 years after the meeting where the allegations were brought to management, Bowman and MacIsaac were immediately ousted by the Blackhawks, and Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers within days. Quenneville is the second-winningest coach in NHL history and can now resume his chase of Scotty Bowman’s all-time wins record. He needs 276 more wins to pass Scotty Bowman’s 1,244. Scotty Bowman is Stan Bowman’s father.

Both Quenneville and Stan Bowman have actively sought reinstatement. Bowman was a candidate for general manager jobs last summer, and Quenneville — in his only public remarks — told the “Cam and Strick Podcast” in April that he felt he deserved a second chance.

“I had a miss in 2010 and I own it,” Quenneville told the podcast. “At the same time, I believe there’s a place for me in the game.”

According to several sources and the league’s statement, both Quenneville and Bowman have been quietly working their way back into the NHL’s good graces. Both have spoken with Beach, and with other forces for positive change in the NHL, such as Respect Group founder Sheldon Kennedy and LGBTQ+ activist Brock McGillis.

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On Monday, a national holiday in Canada and the first day of free agency, the NHL announced that the three men had done sufficient work to return to the league.

“While it is clear that, at the time, their responses were unacceptable, each of these three individuals has acknowledged that and used his time away from the game to engage in activities which not only demonstrate sincere remorse for what happened, but also evidence greater awareness of the responsibilities that all NHL personnel have, particularly personnel who are in positions of leadership,” an NHL news release said.

“Moreover, each has made significant strides in personal improvement by participating in myriad programs, many of which focused on the imperative of responding in effective and meaningful ways to address alleged acts of abuse.”

(Photo of Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman in 2015: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)




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