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2010 Blackhawks players widely knew of Bradley Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault: report

Two players from the 2010 team told The Athletic on Friday that Aldrich’s alleged assault of two other players was well-known. Brent Sopel, another member of the team, tweeted the report was “accurate.”

The 2010 Blackhawks team, including then-video coach Bradley Aldrich (second from top left, partially obscured), celebrates winning the Stanley Cup.
John Kim/Sun-Times file photo

Former Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault of two Hawks players in May 2010 was known about by the entire team during the 2010 playoffs, according to a report Friday by The Athletic.

‘‘Every single guy on the team knew,’’ an unidentified player from the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team told The Athletic.

Nick Boynton, a defenseman on the 2010 team, told The Athletic he was aware of the incident and trusted then-skills coach Paul Vincent to alert upper management and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.

Vincent told TSN this month that he informed then-president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, executive Al MacIsaac and skills coach James Gary about Aldrich’s alleged assault at a meeting in 2010, but that the group of Hawks executives rejected his request to report the incident to the police.

Brent Sopel, another defenseman on the 2010 team, tweeted Friday that The Athletic’s report was ‘‘accurate.’’

‘‘The front office staff should be in jail,’’ Sopel said in a separate tweet. ‘‘The NHL is showing [their] true colours. . . . This is absolutely disgusting that the NHL is doing nothing.’’

The Hawks are facing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court from one of the two former players — identified under the pseudonym ‘‘John Doe’’ in the lawsuit — who alleged Aldrich assaulted him.

Aldrich ‘‘sent . . . inappropriate text messages,’’ ‘‘turned on porn and began to masturbate in front of [Doe] . . . without his consent’’ and ‘‘threatened to injure [Doe] . . . physically, financially and emotionally if [Doe] . . . did not engage in sexual activity,’’ according to the lawsuit filed May 7.

The player reported Aldrich’s assault to Gary, but Gary ‘‘did nothing’’ and instead ‘‘convinced [Doe] . . . that the sexual assault was his fault,’’ according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages from the Hawks and claims the player continues to suffer from the trauma of the incident. The player told radio station WBEZ this week that the sexual assault ‘‘took me out of the high point of my game.’’

The Hawks filed a motion June 14 to dismiss the lawsuit, but that motion was based on legal grounds — arguing the statute of limitations had expired and the player didn’t exhaust his legal options before suing — rather than the alleged facts of the assault, according to court documents obtained by the Sun-Times. The Hawks also filed an objection to discovery requests by the player’s lawyer this week.

The Hawks denied wrongdoing in a statement last month to the Sun-Times but haven’t responded to repeated requests for comment since.

June 28 Update: The Hawks have hired the law firm Jenner & Block LLC to conduct an investigation into the sexual assault allegations and their handling.

Aldrich left the Hawks after the 2010 season but continued a pattern of inappropriate behavior. He briefly was employed by the Miami (Ohio) University men’s hockey team in 2012 but resigned ‘‘under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult,’’ the university’s general counsel told a Michigan police officer in 2013, according to Michigan police documents obtained by the Sun-Times. Miami University recently hired a third-party firm to investigate Aldrich’s time at the school, according to numerous reports.

Aldrich later became a volunteer coach with the Houghton (Michigan) High School boys hockey team. He pleaded guilty in December 2013 — and was sentenced in February 2014 to nine months in prison and five years of probation — for a criminal sexual-contact incident with a 16-year-old member of the team.

The victim of that assault told police in September 2013 that Aldrich — after a team party — climbed into bed with, sexually touched and performed oral sex on him and also forced him to sexually touch Aldrich, despite the victim’s frequent objections, according to Michigan police documents.

The victim of that assault filed a separate lawsuit against the Hawks on May 26 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the Hawks ‘‘provided positive references to future employers for Bradley Aldrich despite having knowledge of his sexual assaults’’ and seeking $50,000 in damages. The Hawks requested a time extension in that case Wednesday, according to court records.

Even after Michigan police began investigating Aldrich’s assault of the high school student in September 2013, Hawks head of human resources Marie Sutera told police the team would require ‘‘a search warrant or subpoena to give out any information’’ about Aldrich’s tenure, according to Michigan police documents.

Bowman, MacIsaac, Gary and Sutera are still employed by the Hawks. Vincent now works as a volunteer assistant coach at Dartmouth University.