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Blackhawks organization named in multiple lawsuits detailing sexual assault allegations

The story has continued to grow over the last month.

SPORTS-HKN-BLACKHAWKS-LAWSUIT-TB John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Over the last month, the Blackhawks have been named in two lawsuits which include sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich, who was with the team from 2008 to 2010.

It started in mid-May, when an unnamed former player from the ‘09-10 Blackhawks team that won the Stanley Cup filed a lawsuit against the franchise, alleging that he was sexually assaulted by Aldrich. The details of the allegation are available in this article from Chicago radio station WBEZ, (a warning here that the article goes into more explicit detail of the assault allegations which may be disturbing to some) the first outlet to report on the lawsuit. A direct link to the filing is included in that article.

According to this Chicago Tribune article from last Wednesday, the Blackhawks have filed a motion to dismiss this lawsuit.

Later in May, a former high school hockey player from Michigan filed a lawsuit (content warning) with allegations that he was also abused by Aldrich, who was a volunteer assistant coach with that team. The lawsuit alleges that Aldrich was hired for that role thanks in part to a positive reference from the Blackhawks organization despite being aware of the allegations against him.

Aldrich has not been on the Blackhawks staff for several seasons but multiple recent reports from TSN’s Rick Westhead pointed a damning finger at several current members of the organization. The first such report emerged last Thursday, which includes details of a meeting with several high-ranking members of the organization who were informed of sexual assault allegations against Aldrich from two players on the team.

The paragraph below is from that article:

During a May 2010 meeting with then-Blackhawks president John McDonough, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman and team sports psychologist James Gary, then-skills coach Paul Vincent shared what the players had told him about being assaulted and asked the team executives to contact the sex crimes division of the Chicago police, the person said, adding that the request was denied.

MacIsaac, Bowman and Gary are all current members of the Blackhawks front office.

Westhead followed up that report on Tuesday, citing a source who alleged that the sexual assault of two former Blackhawks players by Aldrich was an “open secret” within the organization.

On Friday, this article from The Athletic cites another unnamed player from the 2010 Blackhawks, who said that every player on that team was aware of the incidents between Aldrich and two players.

The cover-up is always worse than the crime and the Blackhawks organization has an awful reputation when it comes to handling allegations of this nature. There have been no public statements from Bowman or anyone else with the team since these allegations emerged, save for a few “no comment” replies. But as the lawsuits pile up and media reports shed more light on what transpired, the overwhelming silence from 1901 W. Madison continues to be disheartening, disappointing — and infuriating.

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