NHL won't discipline Jets GM Cheveldayoff over Chicago team's handling of sex assault allegations
Current Winnipeg Jets GM 'not responsible for improper decisions' made by Chicago, league says
The NHL says it will not discipline Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff in connection with the Chicago team's mishandling of sexual assault allegations against a former video coach.
The news follows Cheveldayoff's meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday. The league said he was found as "not responsible for the improper decisions" made by the team related to Brad Aldrich, who allegedly sexually assaulted player Kyle Beach during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2010.
"While on some level, 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," said Bettman in a media release.
"Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of [Chicago's] senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility for the club's actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion."
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The NHL's announcement comes a day after Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was the head coach of Chicago at the time of the alleged incident, resigned after a meeting with Bettman.
Chicago general manager and president of hockey operations Stan Bowman and top executive Al MacIsaac have also resigned following the release of a report from law firm Jenner & Block.
Commissioned by the Chicago team in response to two lawsuits, the report found that the team failed to act for three weeks after leadership discussed the allegations at a meeting on May 23, 2010.
Cheveldayoff was Chicago's assistant GM at the time. In its release, the NHL says his participation at the meeting was "extremely limited in scope and substance," and noted that most people didn't initially recall his presence.
The league says Cheveldayoff, who has been the GM of the Jets since the team relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011, was the lowest-ranked official in the room and "essentially an observer to the discussion of possible next steps."
The discussion, the league says, "apparently ended with Cheveldayoff believing that the matter was going to be investigated."
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In a statement shared by the Jets, Cheveldayoff said he wanted to express support and empathy for Beach and all he has endured since 2010.
"He was incredibly brave coming forward to tell his story. We can all use his courage as an inspiration to do a better job of making hockey a safer space for anyone who wants to play the game."
Statement from Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff: <a href="https://t.co/lgiS5jbH5s">pic.twitter.com/lgiS5jbH5s</a>—@NHLJets
With files from The Canadian Press