NHL defends disciplinary decisions in Blackhawks scandal
Commissioner Gary Bettman defended on Monday NHL rulings and discipline imposed following an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks’ handling of sexual assault allegations in 2010.
Bettman called the organization’s $ 2 million fine “important” and upheld decisions to let Joel Quenneville lead one more game and not discipline Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff based on his limited role in the Chicago front office at the time. Quenneville has resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers after meeting Bettman last week.
In his first public comments since the release of the report detailing the Blackhawks’ investigation, Bettman said he didn’t want anyone to think he was prejudging Quenneville, who was Chicago’s coach when allegations surfaced according to which video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted prospect Kyle Beach 11 years ago.
When asked if Quenneville had received some sort of ultimatum, Bettman said, “Joel finally included that the most sensible course of action was that he quit.”
Cheveldayoff was the only person in the Blackhawks’ leadership at the time who still worked for an NHL club. Cheveldayoff was present at a meeting on Beach’s allegations in May 2010, but Bettman said the former deputy general manager “was a minor player in this file” and “had no responsibility for” the mismanagement of the situation. by the organization.
Cheveldayoff was scheduled to speak to reporters on Monday, although this was rebuffed by the Jets because owner Mark Chipman suffered a bout of vertigo over the weekend and insisted on being present for the press conference.
The NHL Players Association has scheduled a board meeting for later Monday to discuss how Beach’s allegations have been handled.
âI know I brought every detail to someone from NHLPA, who I was subsequently put in touch with,â Beach said during his interview on TSN in Canada on Wednesday, his first since he became John Doe. âI believe two different people spoke to (NHLPA Leader) Don Fehr. And for him to turn his back on the players when his only job is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how that can be your leader. I don’t know how he can be in charge.
Fehr enlisted as an NHLPA advisor in the summer of 2010 after Aldrich resigned rather than face an investigation from the Blackhawks. Fehr was appointed executive director of the NHLPA in December of the same year.
In a statement last week, Fehr said the person Beach spoke to was a physician from the NHL / NHLPA Player Assistance Program, which, while confidential, should have resulted in further action in because of its seriousness.
âThe failure to do so was a big failure,â Fehr said. “There is no doubt that the system has failed to support him in his difficult times, and we are part of that system.”