Chicago Blackhawks executive Stan Bowman pledged Thursday to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.
The team’s president of hockey operations and general manager refused to answer a question about a meeting concerning the allegations 11 years ago that he was reported to be part of. Bowman cited ongoing litigation —the Blackhawks face two lawsuits — as well as the investigation being run by a formal federal prosecutor.
“The review itself is something that I do plan to participate in and I’m going to give it my full cooperation,” Bowman said. “We have some experts that we brought in. From my understanding these are well-respected people in the legal community, and I intend to fully cooperate with them.”
Bowman has been with Chicago since 2005 and been GM since 2009. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2016 with him in charge of hockey decisions.
His video news conference prior to the NHL draft was Bowman’s first media availability since the allegations were first reported. Bowman opened by saying the team does not condone sexual assault or harassment.
“We take this very seriously,” Bowman said when asked about the situation. “I take this very seriously. But we have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today. We’re going to let this play itself out.”
Longtime Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now with Florida, said recently he reached out to the organization to say he “will support and participate in the independent review.”
The investigation into one of the NHL’s most high-profile franchises came after the two lawsuits were filed. The first alleges sexual assault by former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup title, and the second was filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.
The unidentified former Blackhawks player said Aldrich assaulted him, and that the team did nothing after he informed an employee. The lawsuit, filed on May 7 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Aldrich also assaulted another unidentified Blackhawks player. The former player who sued and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
According to TSN, two Blackhawks players told then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010 of inappropriate behavior by Aldrich. Vincent said he asked mental skills coach James Gary to follow up with the players and management.
Vincent was called into a meeting with Bowman, then-team President John McDonough, hockey executive Al MacIsaac and Gary the next day, according to TSN, which reported he said he asked the team to report the allegations to Chicago police, and the request was denied.
Vincent has said he stands by everything he said to TSN.