Panthers coach Quenneville resigns amid Blackhawks sexual assault probe
Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville resigned on Thursday after an independent report found that his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, failed to act on allegations of sexual assault made by a former player against a coach in 2010.
The report released on Tuesday said Blackhawks President John McDonough was aware of the allegations that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted a player during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, while Quenneville was coach, but did not want the negative publicity.
Chicago won the Cup that year, and twice more with Quenneville as head coach. He joined the Panthers in 2019.
Kyle Beach said on Wednesday he was the player who brought forward the sexual assault allegations.
In the report, Aldrich stated that the encounter was entirely consensual.
Joel Quenneville has resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers due to his involvement in the mishandling of the Kyle Beach sexual assault allegations.
Andrew Brunette will serve as interim head coach. pic.twitter.com/dLl1xrXcrh
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 29, 2021
“It should go without saying that the conduct described in that report is troubling and inexcusable,” Panthers President and CEO Matt Caldwell said in a statement.
“No one should ever have to endure what Kyle Beach experienced during, and long after, his time in Chicago.
“Quite simply, he was failed.”
Quenneville, who met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday, said in a statement: “My former team the Blackhawks failed Kyle and I own my share of that.
“I want to reflect on how all of this happened and take the time to educate myself on ensuring hockey spaces are safe for everyone.”
Bettman said he believed there was “no need for any further action by the NHL” regarding Quenneville at this time.
“Should he wish to re-enter the league in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”
A memo from Bettman addressed to NHL teams circulated on social media on Thursday in which the commissioner instructed all players and personnel across the league to “immediately report” conduct that is “clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive or that may violate the league’s policies.”
Kevin Cheveldayoff, an assistant general manager with Chicago in 2010 and current general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, had been scheduled to meet with Bettman on Monday but that meeting has been moved up to Friday, TSN said.
In a statement on Twitter earlier on Thursday, Beach offered thanks for the “endless love and support” he received this week.
“Although the results of the private investigation have been released, and the Blackhawks have apologised, my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court,” Beach also said.
Beach has filed a lawsuit against the team.
The Blackhawks said in a statement they will “engage in good faith efforts to fairly resolve these matters to rectify the harm” Beach suffered.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Christian Schmollinger/Peter Rutherford)