Manitoba

Jets GM to meet NHL commissioner Monday about knowledge of Chicago sexual assault allegations

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be questioned by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday about his knowledge of sexual assault allegations made against a member of the Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff more than a decade ago.

Kevin Cheveldayoff was assistant GM for Blackhawks when allegations against assistant coach came forward

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be questioned by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday about his knowledge of sexual assault allegations made against a member of the Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff more than a decade ago.

Scott Brown, the senior director of hockey communications for the Jets, confirmed the date to CBC News after it was first reported by TSN on Wednesday.

Shortly after that, former first-round draft pick Kyle Beach appeared on TSN's SportsCentre, where he identified himself as the first accuser of former Chicago video coach Brad Aldrich.

Beach had been previously been identified only as John Doe 1 in court documents related to the sexual assault allegations, which date back to 2010.

On Tuesday, Stan Bowman, general manager and president of hockey operations for the Blackhawks, resigned after an investigation commissioned by the team found he was among a group of leaders who failed to respond promptly to the allegations that Aldrich sexually assaulted a player.

The National Hockey League fined the Blackhawks $2 million on Tuesday over what it described as the team's "untimely response" to the 2010 allegations.

Bowman said he was stepping aside because he didn't want to be a distraction for the team.

Cheveldayoff served as assistant general manager to Bowman at the time the allegations were first made. He was hired by the Jets in 2011.

The Chicago team hired the law firm Jenner & Block to conduct a review in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise: one alleging sexual assault by Aldrich during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2010 and another filed by a former student Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.

Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who ran the investigation on behalf of the law firm, found six Chicago executives met in May 2010 to discuss the allegations about Aldrich. Cheveldayoff was present at the meeting.

"I have shared everything I know about this matter as part of my participation in Jenner & Block's investigation. That is reflected in today's investigation report," Cheveldayoff said in a statement released on Tuesday. 

"Further, I look forward to my discussion with Commissioner Bettman at the soonest possible date to continue to co-operate fully with the National Hockey League. I will reserve any further comment until after that conversation has been conducted."

Abandoned by 'NHL family': Sheldon Kennedy

Prior to Beach stepping forward, former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy shared his thoughts on the situation on CBC Manitoba's Up To Speed.

The Manitoba-born Kennedy, who endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of coach Graham James, said the lack of response from Chicago's then-management team — as noted in the report — is not linked to policies and procedures, but organizational culture.

"One of the worst pieces of that report was there was ... a lack of acknowledgement or no acknowledgement at all about the fact that they knew anything about this when when they were investigated," Kennedy said.

"It wasn't until the report [was released] that it came out that they actually remembered that they did know something about it."

Former Chicago draft pick Kyle Beach revealed himself on Wednesday as the unnamed victim who was sexually abused by a video coach in 2010. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

He also believes that the NHL as a whole is to blame for its failure to help alleged victims.

"I hear a lot on commercials … that it's 'the NHL family.' Well, to me, my thoughts go back to John Doe and the other individuals that have been hurt here, and they were abandoned by their family, and that sends a strong message," Kennedy said.

"That message is, you know, 'don't bother coming forward because we're not going to do anything about it.'"

As to what should happen to Cheveldayoff, Kennedy didn't make a specific comment on the Jets' general manager but said, "from what I've seen in the report, there was a reluctance to tell the truth."

With files from The Associated Press, The Canadian Press and CBC's Laurie Hoogstraten

now