On Tuesday, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz, discussing the results of an investigation into the organization’s handling of an alleged 2010 sexual assault, said he had instructed Hawks lawyers to reach a “fair resolution” in two related lawsuits.
Hours later, facing coincidentally timed Tuesday court deadlines, Hawks lawyers nonetheless filed new documents supporting their already-pending motions to dismiss both lawsuits.
But the team insists those filings were simply legal requirements, and they’ve already scheduled settlement talks with Susan Loggans, the lawyer representing two victims of former Hawks video coach Brad Aldrich — former Hawks player Kyle Beach and a Michigan high school student.
“Consistent with Danny Wirtz’s public statement, Blackhawks litigation counsel reached out to Ms. Loggans yesterday to begin discussions, [and] a call is scheduled for early next week,” the Hawks said in a statement Wednesday to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“As to the filings yesterday, in compliance with the court’s established briefing schedule, we filed our replies in support of our pending motions to dismiss in the ongoing lawsuit on yesterday’s deadline. Both cases remain pending, but we will engage in good-faith efforts to fairly resolve these matters to rectify the harm John Does have suffered to the extent possible.”
The Hawks’ filings acknowledge receipt of the investigation report but claim in footnotes it “actually strengthens [the Hawks’] statute-of-limitations defense” in the Beach case and “strengthens [the Hawks’] defense that [they] did not provide a job recommendation to Houghton High School” in the other case.
The new filing footnotes also include the following language, however, subtly hinting at the team’s shift away from endlessly battling the cases over legal technicalities in court.
“The overall conduct described is not acceptable to [the Hawks], and [the Hawks’] response to the alleged sexual misconduct did not live up to the team’s values or standards,” the filing states. “[The Hawks have] implemented organizational and administrative safeguards to ensure that these values and standards are observed.”
Quenneville still with Panthers
Former Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, whom the investigation determined helped cover up Aldrich’s alleged assault of Beach in 2010, was allowed to coach in the Panthers’ 4-1 victory Wednesday against the visiting Bruins.
Quenneville told reporters before the game that he has a meeting scheduled Thursday in New York with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman but tried to “eliminate all distractions” for the game.
Bettman will then meet on Monday with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, a Hawks assistant GM in 2010 who also was implicated in the cover-up in the investigation.
The fact that Quenneville and Cheveldayoff have continued in their roles with other organizations is surprising, especially considering the Hawks’ swift removals of Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac on Tuesday.