The NHL’s media press conference talking about the Chicago Blackhawks investigation into sexual abuse allegations is complete. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sat down, alongside current deputy commissioner Bill Daly, to speak with reporters about the findings in the Brad Aldrich abuse report on former Black Ace Kyle Beach, and how both men and the NHL decided to act once the findings were revealed.
There are some key takeaways from that press conference, one that many are calling an absolute disaster from an NHL perspective.
- One of the bigger contents of discussion was the $2 million fine levied onto the Blackhawks by the NHL and questions about why a heftier fine wasn’t given. Bettman said he felt the fine was justified and sends the right message to other NHL teams. The takeaway by many is that it’s worse to circumvent the salary cap than it is for mishandling sexual assault. The punishments are harsher.
- As for Brad Aldrich’s second victim, Bettman was asked if the NHL would be offering assistance of any kind. Bettman says he needs more info before committing NHL to care for John Doe 2. Considering Aldrich was sentenced to prison time for this crime and is now a registered sex offender, the NHL seems to have enough information to know there was a victim here that probably could use assistance.
- When asked about how the NHL plans to move forward when it comes to potential victims who have gone through something similar as to what Beach went through, Gary Bettman says they’re going to reach out to many professionals to help with these matters moving forward. As far as whether or not the NHL will seek the advice of Sheldon Kennedy, they don’t plan to seek him out, unless he offers since Kennedy’s abuse did not come at the NHL level.
- When it comes to other investigations related to inapporpriate behaviors by coaches or executives, when asked, Bill Daly said the Bill Peters “investigation is done.” Peters was removed as an NHL coach after racist comments towards Akim Aliu were brought to light a couple of years ago. Daly said NHL has contacted Aliu’s representative for “next steps, if any.” Aliu’s rep today: “News to me.”
- When asked why Joel Quenneveille was allowed to coach the Florida Panthers on Wedensday of this past week despite a pending meeting into Quenneveille’s involvement in the Blackhawks inappropriate response to the Beach allegations, Bettman said: “He had already coached 867 games since 2010 and I wanted to make sure that no one, including Coach Quenneville, could say that I had prejudged him. People can disagree on this.”
- Bettman says one of the key reasons Kevin Cheveldayoff was not punished was because he was such a small part of the equation when it came to the Blackhawks decision not to report the abuse allegations. Bettman said that the only person who identified that Kevin Cheveldayoff was in the room for the May 23, 2010 meeting in which Blackhawks executives decided to delay dealing with Aldrich allegations in order to focus on the playoffs … was Kevin Cheveldayoff himself.
- Rick Westhead, who was a key reporter in uncovering all of the details regarding the Blackhawks and Kyle Beach was avoided in the press conference for over 45 minutes. It wasn’t until Pierre LeBrun said that he hoped his colleague would get a chance to ask a question that Westhead got a chance later in the press conference. This caught a ton of attention as the belief seems to be that the NHL wants the general publis to know they take sexual assault allegations seriously, but actively avoided questions from the journalist who broke open the report on Chicago’s sexual assault case.
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