Blackhawks Hire Firm to Conduct Independent Review of Brad Aldrich Allegations

Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesChicago Blackhawks have hired a firm to review sexual assault allegations against Brad Aldrich, ex-video coach.According to Emily Kaplan, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said that "much has been written and said recently about the two lawsuits against the organization stemming out alleged events which occurred in 2010". "We want you to know that we take these allegations very seriously. They do not reflect the culture or values of this organization.Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, told reporters Monday that the league could discipline a franchise depending on the results of the investigation.Aldrich was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in February 2014 for fourth-degree criminal sexual misconduct with a student aged 16-18 years.In April, a former Blackhawks player sued the team alleging that Aldrich had sexually assaulted him. He also claimed that the plaintiff didn't get enough attention to the allegations.Adam Rogowin (Blackhawks vice president of communications) said that the team took the allegations very seriously and that they had "lack merit" according to what officials found at the time.In May, however, a former Michigan high school hockey player filed a lawsuit against Blackhawks. John Doe 2, the plaintiff, claimed he was attacked by Aldrich in March 2013. He also claimed that the Blackhawks showed "utter indifference and conscious disregard for safety for others" because they allegedly gave positive references to Aldrich.Rogowin stated that issuing a comment would be "inappropriate" as the litigation is ongoing.Rick Westhead, TSN's reporter, reported that the Blackhawks' front-office, which included John McDonough (then-president), Al MacIsaac, vice president of hockey operations, and Stan Bowman, had held a meeting in May 2010. Paul Vincent, the skills coach, reportedly told the meeting that two players had claimed they were sexually assaulted in a video coaching session. The allegations were allegedly not reported to Chicago police by team officials.Scott Powers, Katie Strang, and Mark Lazerus were told by a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks team in 2009-10 that the allegation was known to them all.He also voiced frustration at the Blackhawks' inaction.The player stated, "That doesn’t bother me. That they let him take photos with the Cup." "What bothers is that they fired him but didn't report it to the police. They let him get a job with a U-18 team. They allowed him to get a job as a U-18 coach. They allowed him to work with minors. They allowed this to happen."