NHL reinstates Bowman, Quenneville, MacIsaac after ban for mishandling Chicago sex assault scandal

Warning: This story contains distressing details related to sexual assault.

The NHL lifted its ban on longtime coach Joel Quenneville and executives Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac on Monday, clearing the way for their return to the league more than two years after they were punished in the fallout from the Chicago team’s sexual assault scandal.

Bowman, MacIsaac and Quenneville can sign contracts with an NHL team after July 10.

“For more than the last two and a half years, these individuals have been ineligible to work for any NHL team as a result of their inadequate response upon being informed in 2010 of allegations that [Chicago] player Kyle Beach had been assaulted by the club’s video coach,” the league said.

“While it is clear that, at the time, their responses were unacceptable, each of these three individuals … has acknowledged that and used his time away from the game to engage in activities which not only demonstrate sincere remorse for what happened, but also evidence greater awareness of the responsibilities that all NHL personnel have, particularly personnel who are in positions of leadership.”

The scandal rocked Chicago’s NHL team in October 2021 and had ripple effects across the league.

An investigation commissioned by Chicago concluded team officials mishandled allegations raised by Beach during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.

WATCH | Stan Bowman resigns amid team’s sexual assault allegations: 

Chicago’s GM resigns, team fined over delayed action after sexual assault allegations

The Chicago NHL team’s decision to delay taking action after a sexual assault allegation was made against a video coach has led to the resgination of the team’s general manager, a $2-million fine and questions about what needs to happen to other team officials who didn’t act sooner.

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Quenneville coached Chicago, an Original Six team, to three Cups since 2010 before joining the Florida Panthers in 2019.

He stepped down from the Panthers at the time the sexual assault scandal came to light. Bowman, Chicago’s general manager and hockey operations president, left his job, as did top team executive MacIsaac.

The league said each “has made significant strides in personal improvement by participating in myriad programs, many of which focused on the imperative of responding in effective and meaningful ways to address alleged acts of abuse.”

The NHL fined Chicago’s NHL team $2 million in the wake of the investigation, which was launched in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise: one by a player identified as John Doe alleging sexual assault by then video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010, and another filed by a former student, someone Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.

The report found no evidence that chief executive officer Danny Wirtz or his father, team owner Rocky, were aware of the allegations before the lawsuits. But the younger Wirtz said it was clear team executives had “put team performance above all else.” 

Among other things, the scathing report found that in June 2010, after the team had won the Cup, Aldrich was given the option of resigning or being part of an investigation. Aldrich signed a separation agreement and no investigation was conducted.

Aldrich received a severance and a playoff bonus, according to the report, and was paid a salary “for several months.” He hosted the Stanley Cup for a day in his hometown.

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Chicago and Beach reached an undisclosed settlement in December 2021. The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Beach did.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted through crisis lines and local support services via this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911. 

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