Did Joel Quenneville coach his last NHL hockey game? UPDATE

Update published at 22:55: After meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman earlier today, the Florida Panthers released the following declaration:

“With deep regret and contrition, I announce my resignation as head coach of the Florida Panthers

“I want to express my sadness for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered.

“My old team, the Blackhawks, let Kyle down and I have my share.

“I want to reflect on how it all went and take the time to educate myself on how to ensure that hockey spaces are safe for everyone.

Bettman also released a declaration, who said, in part, “I admire Kyle Beach for his courage to come forward, I am dismayed that he was so poorly supported in his initial request and for the 11 years that followed, and I am sorry for all he went through.

“Given the result, there is no need for further action from the NHL regarding Mr. Quenneville at this time. advance to determine the appropriate conditions under which this new employment could take place.

The original story is below:

Yesterday, Joel Quenneville was behind the Florida Panthers bench as usual, leading his unbeaten National Hockey League team to a 4-1 victory over their Eastern Conference rival of the Boston Bruins. at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise. The Panthers started the 2021-22 campaign 7-0.

Also yesterday, Kyle Beach, a former NHL prospect who now plays professional hockey in Germany, revealed in a TV interview that he was the “John Doe” at the center of a recently concluded assault allegation investigation. sexuality involving the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL. in May 2010.

By the end of the day, Quenneville may have lost his head coach job. Two senior Blackhawks colleagues who were still with the team are now gone. One has resigned; the other was fired.

During the 2009-10 season, Quenneville was the head coach of the Blackhawks, who were on their way to a Stanley Cup championship, and Beach was a self-styled Black Ace – a 20-year-old Blackhawks minor league player. years that had been added to the NHL roster for injury insurance.

Although the Blackhawks took him with the 11th pick overall in the 2008 NHL Draft, Beach has never played a single minute in an official NHL game.

But while with the Blackhawks, he informed team officials that team video coach Brad Aldrich, then 27, sexually assaulted him in week two of May 2010.

Click to enlarge Kyle Beach in the fall of 2010, when he was a prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks.  Now 31, Beach plays for the Black Dragons in Erfurt, Germany.  - PHOTO BY CLAUS ANDERSEN / GETTY IMAGES

Kyle Beach in the fall of 2010, when he was a prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks. Now 31, Beach plays for the Black Dragons in Erfurt, Germany.

Photo by Claus Andersen / Getty Images

Last spring, Beach sued the Blackhawks and the team hired a law firm to undertake an independent investigation. On Tuesday, the Jenner & Block firm released its findings.

The 107-page report presents Aldrich and John Doe’s versions of events in graphic detail, noting where they differed and including statements from others who were aware of the encounter. Aldrich argued that the sex was consensual. Doe claimed that Aldrich threatened to cut his career short if he didn’t comply.

The parties to the lawsuit, presumably, will settle this.

But when it comes to the management of the Blackhawks, including Quenneville, the report is unequivocal and seemingly damning.

Jenner & Block investigators concluded that after learning about the allegations, the Blackhawks board decided to … do nothing until the end of the season, in order to avoid distractions and “negative publicity”.

Although the team’s own protocol dictated that its human resources department undertake an investigation, business proceeded as usual. Shortly after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup, Aldrich reportedly proposed a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern, who pushed back his lead.

The Blackhawks told Aldrich he could either quit with severance pay or be investigated. He took the money and his name was duly engraved on the Stanley Cup trophy. He then held paid and unpaid positions with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami in Ohio and Houghton High School in Houghton, Michigan. In Houghton, in 2013, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor.

Following the release of the Jenner & Block report on Wednesday, two senior Blackhawks officials who were on the team in 2010 have left: general manager Stan Bowman has resigned; the senior director of hockey operations, Al MacIsaac, was fired. According to NHL.com, the league fined the team $ 2 million for failing to investigate – what League Commissioner Gary Bettman called “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and inappropriate response in the processing of cases ”.

Quenneville, meanwhile, had very little to say about the incident.

Chicago fired him in 2018 after a decade with the team, and Florida signed him to a six-year contract the following year. After last night’s game against the Bruins, Quenneville did not meet the media as usual.

In July, after Jenner & Block’s announcement, the 63-year-old head coach made a statement to The Associated Press in which he said, “I learned about these allegations for the first time from the media over. early this summer. I contacted the Blackhawks organization. to let them know that I will support and participate in the independent review. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further while this matter is in court. ”

Quenneville should have met with Bettman to discuss the matter today in New York.

Former Blackhawks assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who has also been implicated in the fallout of the allegations, is now general manager of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He, too, is about to meet Bettman.

NHL.com quoted Bettman as saying he intended to “reserve judgment on [the] next steps, if any, regarding »Quenneville and Cheveldayoff until he meets them.

During yesterday’s interview on Canada’s TSN (The Sports Network), Beach was asked about the aftermath of the alleged assault, seeing Aldrich celebrating with the Stanley Cup trophy.

“The only way I could describe it was that I felt sick, I had a stomach ache…” he said. “[T]o Seeing him parading around the lifting of the Cup, the parade, the team photos, the celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like I wasn’t important and – it made me feel like he was right and I was wrong. And that’s also what [Blackhawks’ mental skills coach and team counselor Jim Gary] ‘Doc’ Gary told me – it was my fault because I got into this situation. And the combination of all of that and being taken for a walk to him and then letting him take the Stanley Cup to a high school with kids after they found out what happened. There are no words to describe it … there really aren’t any. ”

Catherine J. Martinez