Hockey analysts ponder future of Kevin Cheveldayoff after Jets GM named in Chicago report
Former Blackhawks official among 6 singled out for slow response to sexual assault allegations
Hockey analysts are pondering the future of Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff after he was named in a report into the Chicago Blackhawks' inadequate response to sexual-assault allegations against a former coach.
On Tuesday, the National Hockey League fined the Blackhawks $2 million over what the league described as the team's "untimely response" to allegations former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted a player during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2010.
The fine followed the publication of a report commissioned by the Blackhawks after the NHL team was sued by the former player as well as by a former student Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.
Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who ran the investigation on behalf of law firm Jenner & Bock, found six Chicago executives met in May 2010 to discuss the allegations about Aldrich but took no action for three weeks, when the team's human-resources director gave the former coach the choice of resigning or facing an investigation.
Schar said accounts of what took place in that meeting varied.
"What is clear is that after being informed of Aldrich's alleged sexual harassment and misconduct with a player no action was taken for three weeks," Schar said Tuesday.
"While there was a lack of recollection as to whether anyone else present in the meeting besides [club president John McDonough] needed to or would take any additional steps, nothing was done by the other senior leaders to address the situation."
The report noted a former intern alleged Aldrich made an unwanted advance during those additional three weeks.
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was one of the six officials in the meeting. He resigned on Tuesday.
Cheveldayoff, who was Chicago's assistant general manager in 2010, was also present at the meeting. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday in a statement he intends to meet with Cheveldayoff to discuss his role in the events.
"I will reserve judgment on next steps, if any," Bettman said in a statement.
In a statement provided by the Winnipeg Jets, Cheveldayoff said he looks forward to speaking to Bettman and will co-operate with the NHL.
"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 the statement. "I will reserve any further comment until after that conversation has been conducted."
Elliotte Friedman, an analyst with Hockey Night In Canada, said Cheveldayoff will also face questions about the discrepancy between a statement he made earlier this year and what the report stated about the delay in action over the allegations against Aldrich.
In July, Cheveldayoff said in a statement he had "no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks."
The report makes that period of time three weeks — during which time Aldrich is alleged to have made another unwanted advance.
"There was a statement that came out a while ago that was a denial. And now the name is there, right? So you have to explain it," Friedman said. "This isn't going to go away until we have some answers."
Jashvina Shah, co-author of Game Misconduct: Hockey's Toxic Culture and How to Fix it, said she believes Cheveldayoff should lose his job.
"Everyone involved should be fired. I know Stan Bowman stepped down — he wasn't fired, he resigned. I don't think people should get a chance to do that," said Shah, a sexual assault survivor.
"I don't think anyone involved should be working in the NHL ever again. I know that's not what Gary Bettman said. I think Gary Bettman should be fired as well."
Bettman also said he intends to meet with former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, who's now head coach of the Florida Panthers.
With files from Cameron MacIntosh and the Associated Press