A former N.H.L. Chicago Blackhawks player has filed a sexual assault lawsuit against the team, claiming management ignored misconduct allegations filed against its erstwhile video coach, Brad Aldrich.
A former N.H.L. Chicago Blackhawks player has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the team, claiming management ignored misconduct allegations filed against its erstwhile video coach, Brad Aldrich.
According to CNN, attorneys filed the lawsuit against the Blackhawks earlier this week. In it, they claim that their client—identified in court documents only as “John Doe”—was sexually assaulted by Aldrich before the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.
The complaint broadly alleges that the Blackhawks put “Stanley Cup Championship aspirations ahead of the welfare of its players and provided cover to a sexual predator on its coaching staff who groomed, harassed, threatened, and assaulted John Doe.”
Doe, writes CNN, was a member of the “Black Aces,” a group of prospective players who are sometimes called to the ice if a rostered athlete is unable to participate due to injury or suspension.
Doe says that Aldrich was “overtly and aggressively sexual” toward him, going so far as to threaten Doe’s career in a bid to “coerce” him into maintaining silence.
Aside from harassing players, Aldrich also purportedly pressured Doe and other athletes into watching pornographic movies with him.
On one occasion, Aldrich allegedly “approached John Doe from behind, grabbed him in a hugging gesture, and ground his penis against John Doe’s back and buttocks through his clothes.”
“Coach Aldrich’s predatory tendencies, including specifically those directed against John Doe, were well-known to [the Blackhawks],” the lawsuit claims.
The Blackhawks only ordered an independent investigation after another player, Kyle Beach, filed a lawsuit against the team in 2021, saying that Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2010. According to Beach, the team knew that incident had occurred but failed to discipline Aldrich or take any other meaningful action.
Antonio Romanucci, an attorney representing Doe, said that Beach’s story has inspired other athletes to come forward.
“Having somebody like Kyle Beach, who was a known player, someone who was very well known, to come froward—that’s what gave [Doe] the courage,” Romanucci said.
“John Doe feels an immense amount of personal shame, guilt, embarrassment, and it took a long while for him to reconcile and now have this laudatory courage to come forward and make his allegations public,” Romanucci added, explaining that Doe intends to seek “way in excess” of $300,000 in damages.
Aldrich resigned from the Blackhawks in 2010, going on to volunteer with a high school team in Houghton, Michigan.
However, he was later arrested for child sex abuse, eventually pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in 2013.