After a meeting with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner about Joel Quenneville's involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse case, Quenneville quit as the Florida Panthers' head coach.
An NHL source said that Andrew Brunette, assistant coach, will assume the interim role.
Quenneville was in his third season as the Panthers' head coach. They are currently at 7-0-0. With two more years remaining on his contract and $15 million, he resigned.
Bettman stated in a statement, that the NHL agreed with Quenneville's decision to resign.
Bettman stated, "Following a meeting that took place today in my office with Mr. Quenneville, all parties agreed it was not appropriate that he continue serving as Florida's coach." "We are grateful to the Panthers' for their cooperation in ensuring that we followed a thorough process.
"Given the outcome, there is no need to take any further action by NHL regarding Mr. Quenneville." To determine the conditions in which he might be able to return to the League, I will need to meet with him beforehand.
Kyle Beach, a former Blackhawks player, came forward on Wednesday as John Doe. He filed a lawsuit against them for mishandling the sexual assault allegations he made in 2010. The Blackhawks ordered Jenner & Block to investigate the claims that Brad Aldrich, former video coach, sexually assaulted Beach and harassed him during their 2010 Stanley Cup run.
The Tuesday investigation revealed that Quenneville knew of the situation and participated in at least one meeting about the allegations during the 2010 playoffs. Quenneville previously stated that he learned about the allegations only in the summer 2021 from the media.
Beach stated that Quenneville knew nothing about the allegations in a Wednesday interview with TSN.
"I have witnessed meetings that were held in Joel Quenneville’s office. This was right after I reported it [Blackhawks mental skill coach] James Gary]. Beach stated that there is no way that he could deny it.
Stan Bowman, former Blackhawks general manger, recalled that Quenneville, upon learning about the Aldrich allegations in his investigation report, "shook his heads and said that it was difficult for the team [the playoffs] and that they couldn't deal with this problem now."
Quenneville was the coach of the Panthers' win against Boston on Wednesday night. General manager Bill Zito read a statement that Quenneville would not comment on until he meets with Bettman, rather than having the coach speak to media. Quenneville, Zito and Panthers CEO Matthew Caldwell attended the meeting in New York. Bettman was also present as well as Bill Daly, deputy commissioner.
"I am sorry for the loss Kyle Beach has endured. According to TSN, Quenneville released a statement saying that Kyle was failed by his former team, The Blackhawks. "I want to reflect upon how this all happened and to educate myself about how to ensure that hockey spaces are safe for everyone."
Quenneville, Bowman and Al MacIsaac, the Blackhawks senior hockey director of hockey administration, have resigned from their roles in this sexual abuse case. The Blackhawks were also fined 2 million.
Caldwell stated that "after the Jenner & Block investigative reports were released on Tuesday afternoon, it was our intention to continue to diligently examine the information in that report, as well as any new information that has become available,". It should be obvious that the conduct described within that report is unacceptable and troubling. This is a direct contradiction to the values of our organization and what Florida Panthers stand up for.
"No one should have to go through what Kyle Beach went through during and after his time in Chicago. He was simply failed. We are proud of his courage and bravery in coming forward.
In the NHL's statement, Bettman also echoed this sentiment.
Bettman stated that while Kyle Beach is an admirable individual for his courage and willingness to come forward, he was also poorly supported in his initial claim as well as in the subsequent 11 years. He said that he regrets all that he has been through.
Quenneville holds the record for the second most coaching wins in NHL history. He has a record 969-572-150 and 77 ties over 25 years with the Blackhawks. Quenneville led the Blackhawks' to three Stanley Cup titles, including the 2009-10 season in which Kyle Beach made his sexual assault allegations to them.
Bettman will meet with Kevin Cheveldayoff, general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, on Friday. Bettman was the Blackhawks' assistant general manager in 2010. He also participated in a meeting on the sex abuse case.