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Several former players and staff members connected to the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks have addressed in recent days whether the team knew at the time about sexual assault allegations by two former players against former video coach Bradley Aldrich.
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, the Hawks’ director of player personnel in 2010, was asked Sunday whether Hawks management met about the allegations.
“It came out recently, there was a meeting that I heard that was done in Chicago. I was not part of any meeting, and I was not part of any decision based on that,” Bergevin said Sunday, according to ESPN.com. “And I was not aware of anything going on at the time. So you can go on the record with that.”
Others have said most team executives likely knew about Aldrich, who was convicted in 2013 of sexually assaulting a high school hockey player in Michigan and was required to register as a sex offender.
“Brad would routinely befriend young interns and invite them to his apartment in Chicago to watch March Madness basketball and other sports,” a Hawks marketing official, who requested anonymity, told TSN. “I was told to steer clear of him because he had tried something at his apartment on a few players. This was not something that only a few people knew about. The entire training staff, a lot of people knew. ... This was an open secret.”
The Athletic quoted an anonymous player from the 2010 team as saying: “Every guy on the team knew about it. Every single guy on the team knew.”
Nick Boynton, another 2010 player, said skills coach Paul Vincent told players he would alert Hawks management and advise the team to call Chicago police.
“I trust (Vincent) over the front office,” Boynton said, according to The Athletic. “He’s a stand-up guy.”
Brent Sopel, another member of the 2010 team, tweeted: “The front office staff should be in jail. The NHL is showing (their) true colours. Gary doesn’t care about anyone but himself. This is absolutely disgusting that the NHL is doing nothing.”
Daniel Carcillo, who played for the Hawks in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons, tweeted similar assertions.
“I was on the @NHLFlyers playing the @NHLBlackhawks in the @StanleyCup finals in 2010,” Carcillo wrote. “We heard the whispers of what Aldrich did. Hard to believe that most ppl working in the organization didn’t know.”
Carcillo has been leading a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League and its three member junior leagues alleging sexual and other forms of abuse as well as hazing.
A former Hawks player from the 2009-10 team, identified as “John Doe 1,” sued the Hawks in May, accusing management of negligence in its failure to investigate his and a teammate’s complaints about Aldrich.
The former high school hockey player in Aldrich’s 2013 case, identified as “John Doe 2,” also has sued the Hawks.
Earlier this month, citing an unnamed source, TSN reported that Hawks senior management allegedly decided against calling police after being informed of the allegations against Aldrich.
Attorney Susan E. Loggans, who represents both plaintiffs in the lawsuits against the Hawks, said the meeting “wasn’t news to me.”
“It’s not about Aldrich’s conduct,” Loggans told the Tribune earlier this month. “It’s about the Blackhawks subjecting a young person to the influence of somebody in a control position, namely the video coach, and subjecting the players to a hostile and dangerous environment.
“And they became aware of it and hushed it up so that it wouldn’t interfere their playoff chances and the Stanley Cup.”
John Doe 1 brought his complaints in May 2010, and the Hawks won the Stanley Cup the next month.
Loggans also said her client brought the matter to the attention of the NHL Players’ Association, hoping the union would get involved, but “they rebuked him. They did nothing about it.”
An NHLPA representative told the Tribune the union would not comment on a matter that’s under “pending litigation.”
The Hawks filed a motion to dismiss John Doe 1′s lawsuit and have said his allegations “lacked merit.”