The owner of the Chicago Blackhawks has asked the Hockey Hall of Fame to write X’s over the name of a former video coach on the Stanley Cup.
In a letter addressed to the Hall of Fame’s chairman, Lanny McDonald, and obtained by CNN, Wirtz requests “x-ing out” Brad Aldrich’s name, which was engraved in the section for the Blackhawks’ winning team in 2010.
Earlier this week, the National Hockey League announced it had fined the Blackhawks $2 million for what the league described as “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” relating to the team’s handling of alleged incidents of sexual misconduct involving Aldrich in 2010.
The league says it punished the team following an independent investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block.
The firm’s report says in May 2010, Aldrich and an unidentified 20-year-old player, who had been called up for the playoffs from the Blackhawks’ minor league affiliate, had a sexual encounter at Aldrich’s apartment.
The player alleged Aldrich sexually assaulted him while Aldrich said the encounter was consensual, the report says.
On Wednesday, Kyle Beach, a former first round draft pick of the Blackhawks who currently plays in Germany, identified himself as the player.
On Wednesday, he expressed to Canadian sports network TSN “a great feeling of relief and vindication” and “it was no longer my word against everybody else’s.”
Through his attorney, Beach provided CNN the following statement Friday: “I am happy to see the Stanley Cup will be returned to the icon of honor and determination that it was intended to be by removal of Brad Aldrich’s name although it has taken 10 years to get to this point, it feels good to know that this is being accomplished.”
Aldrich went on to work with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame and Miami University in Ohio, according to the report. He also worked at Houghton High School in Houghton, Michigan, where he was arrested and pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in 2013.
No criminal charges have been filed against him for the 2010 allegations.
CNN reached out to Aldrich again on Friday for comment.
The Stanley Cup is awarded to the NHL champions and the names of members of each winning team are engraved on the trophy. Every 13 years a band of winners is removed and displayed in the Hall of Fame. The most recent of the five current bands starts with the 2017-2018 Washington Capitals.
Wirtz wrote, “The names of some of hockey’s most talented athletes appear on the Stanley Cup. But so does the name ‘Brad Aldrich’, whose role as video coach made him eligible for the engraving. His conduct disqualified him, however, and it was a mistake to submit his name.”
In the letter, Wirtz noted a previous example when a name was struck from the Cup. The former owner of the Edmonton Oilers Peter Pocklington had his father’s name etched onto the Cup despite not having a role with the team. Basil Pocklington’s name was later X’d over.
“That decision, among others, reflects the Cup’s storied history of engraving mistakes and errors that have ended up enshrined in silver, or been corrected after the fact,” Wirtz said.
CNN has reached out to the NHL for comment.
Also Friday, the NHL announced it has found former Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was not culpable in the team’s failure to properly report the sexual assault claim by Beach.
The league said it will not discipline Cheveldayoff, now the Winnipeg Jets general manager, after finding him not responsible for management’s “improper decisions” as he was “not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the Club’s response.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated Friday, “It would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with the same broad brush. I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person.”
The commissioner added, “… Cheveldayoff’s role within the Blackhawks’ organization at the time not only left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions relating to this matter, but as importantly, he was not thereafter even in a position to have sufficient information to assess whether or not the matter was being adequately addressed by the Blackhawks.”
The announcement comes a day after Joel Quenneville, who was the Blackhawks coach in 2010, resigned from the same position with the Florida Panthers seven games into the season.
Bettman said given Quenneville’s decision there is no reason to discipline him, but the coach must meet with the commissioner first should he ever want to take another job in the league.
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