The fallout continued Thursday from the sexual assault allegations against a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach, as former head coach Joel Quenneville resigned his position with the Florida Panthers.
Quenneville, who was the head coach of the Blackhawks at the time the alleged assault took place, met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday, and after a lengthy meeting the two sides agreed that he would step down.
Quenneville released a statement after the announcement of his resignation.
“I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered,” the coach said. “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.”
Quenneville is just the latest individual to lose his job in the fallout from the investigation into the assault. Former Blackhawks executives Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac both left the team on Tuesday after a report was released following an investigation into whether the team adequately investigated the assault allegations.
That report, conducted by a law firm hired by the Blackhawks, found that Bowman, MacIsaac and Quenneville were among a group of individuals that met in the weeks following the alleged assault, which took place in May 2010.
In that incident, former Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach says that he was sexually assaulted by former video coach Brad Aldrich, and was threatened with career repercussions if he reported the assault to authorities or to team officials.
Beach did ultimately confide in at least one Blackhawks team employee, who brought the matter to the attention of MacIsaac. A meeting was called on May 23, 2010, with MacIsaac, Bowman, Quenneville and former Blackhawks CEO John McDonough.
No action was taken immediately after that meeting, but one week after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in June 2010, Aldrich was given an ultimatum to either resign or to face an investigation, and he stepped down from his post.
Aldrich later worked as a coach with a youth hockey team in Michigan, and pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in Dec. 2013.
Now, multiple lawsuits are pending against the Blackhawks over their handling of the abuse allegations. One was filed by Beach, who alleges that the team failed to act to investigate the allegations, and also allowed Aldrich to continue on in his role as a coach even after the allegations were brough to the attention of team executives.
The Blackhawks are also being sued by a youth hockey player that was allegedly assaulted by Aldrich in 2013.
The team has filed motions to dismiss both cases.
In the coming days, another former Blackhawks executive could potentially face scrutiny. Kevin Cheveldayoff, general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, will meet with Bettman on Friday to discuss his role in the case. Cheveldayoff was the assistant general manager of the Blackhawks during the 2009-10 season, and was in the meeting where Beach’s allegations were discussed.
Cheveldayoff joined the Jets’ organization in 2011 as their new general manager.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Susan Loggans, the lawyer representing both Beach and the other alleged victim in the lawsuits pending against the Blackhawks, will meet with Chicago Blackhawks lawyers for potential settlement talks next week.