They’ve all gotta go now.
It’s too late. No apologies are going to suffice. No PR statements are going to be acceptable. There’s no saving face for the Blackhawks’ front office anymore.
Everyone who was involved in the gross mishandling of the alleged sexual assault of two Blackhawks players in 2010 by video coach Brad Aldrich needs to be out of a job.
The allegations surfaced in mid-May with more details and accusations arriving in the last few weeks. Last Thursday, TSN’s Rick Westhead cited an anonymous source who said that multiple members of Blackhawks’ management were at a meeting when Paul Vincent — then the team’s skills coach — shared news of the incidents and requested that the team contact Chicago police. Management reportedly refused to do so.
Now, Westhead has former associate coach John Torchetti on the record, confirming that the meeting happened.
From Westhead’s Saturday report:
John Torchetti, who was an associate coach with the Blackhawks from 2007 to 2010, said that he remembers then-Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent telling him about what the players had confided in him, and what had happened after Vincent brought those allegations to management.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when Paul told me what the players had said to him,” Torchetti said in an interview with TSN on Friday.
“We talked about it and he said, with the players’ permission, he had to go and take this to management to be dealt with.”
Torchetti said Vincent told him after that “all the brass” were in the meeting.
There’s no escape route left for “all that brass” — it’s time for all of them all to go.
President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman?
Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacIssac?
Anyone else who was in on that meeting should be following them out the door, too.
So far, those are the only two members of the organization who are confirmed as part of that initial meeting and still have roles with the team. How far the fallout goes beyond that is something that will have to be monitored over the upcoming days, weeks, and months because this story isn’t going away. And every day, it seems, a new reporter has a new scoop that sheds a little more light on what happened and the Blackhawks organization looks a little worse each time.
On Monday, an internal memo from CEO Danny Wirtz — who was not in that role in 2010 — found its way to the media, detailing the “independent review” the Blackhawks are now planning:
NEW: The Blackhawks have hired a former federal prosecutor to lead an “independent review’ of the allegations of sexual assault by former video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 — and the alleged refusal to report it to police — according to an internal memo from CEO Danny Wirtz.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 28, 2021
More details on that internal memo are available in this report from Lazerus at The Athletic website. An independent review is a good start, even if it’s about 11 years too late. Because it’s an NHL team, though, they had to hire a law firm with a background like this:
The firm hired by the Blackhawks to investigate the Brad Aldrich allegations, Jenner & Block, also represented USA Gymnastics in bankruptcy proceedings in wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) June 28, 2021
And it seems awfully convenient that this “internal memo” was so quickly obtained by another media outlet, doesn’t it?
Regardless of what that investigation uncovers, it’s already too late for Bowman and MacIsaac. They were incompetent in 2010 when all of this initially happened and they were incompetent again in 2021 when everything resurfaced. It’s been about six weeks since the initial WBEZ report about the first lawsuit filed against the organization. There’s been ample time for the front office to do something — ANYTHING — to show that they’ve learned from their past mistakes, which allowed a sexual predator to then target high school hockey players in another state.
They had a chance to do the right thing in 2010 and they did not.
They had another chance to do the right in 2021 and they did not.
And because of that, they shouldn’t have any more chances to do anything as an employee of the Blackhawks again.