Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville meets with NHL commissioner over involvement in Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual abuse case
Former Chicago coach Joel Quenneville met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday concerning his involvement in the Blackhawks‘ sexual abuse case, while Kyle Beach accused the team on social media of trying to “destroy my case in court.”
Quenneville, currently the coach of the Florida Panthers, met with Bettman for about two hours in New York while accompanied by Panthers team president Matt Caldwell and general manager Bill Zito.
Beach on Wednesday came forward as “John Doe,” the former Blackhawks player who filed a lawsuit against the team for mishandling his sexual assault allegations. The suit led the Blackhawks to commission an investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block, which looked into allegations that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted and harassed Beach during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup run.
The investigation, of which the results were released Tuesday, revealed that Quenneville was aware of the situation and took part in at least one meeting regarding the allegations during the 2010 postseason. Quenneville had previously said he learned of the allegations in the summer of 2021 “through the media.”
According to recollections from former Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman in the investigation report, Quenneville, after learning of the Aldrich allegations, “shook his head and said that it was hard for the team to get to where they were [the playoffs] and they could not deal with this issue now.”
Bowman on Tuesday resigned after the investigation was made public. The team also was fined $2 million.
“I have immense gratitude for the outpouring of endless love and support that has come through within the past 48 hours,” Beach posted to Twitter on Thursday. “Although the results of the private investigation have been released, and the Blackhawks have apologized, my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court.”
In an interview with TSN on Wednesday, Beach said there was no way Quenneville was unaware of the allegations.
“I’ve witnessed meetings, right after I reported it to [Blackhawks mental skills coach] James Gary, that were held in Joel Quenneville’s office. There’s absolutely no way that he can deny knowing it,” Beach said.
The Panthers are 7-0-0 under Quenneville, who said Wednesday that he addressed the case with his team and said he didn’t think it would be an issue because “I think we try to eliminate all distractions.” He went on to coach against the Bruins that night, not taking questions from the media afterward.
The Panthers, who next play at the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, said earlier this week that they would have no further comment until after Quenneville’s meeting with Bettman.
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan contributed to this report.