Blackhawks pen letter addressing sexual assault scandal


The findings of an investigation into sexual assault by a Chicago Blackhawks coach were released on Tuesday.

During the investigation the firm interviewed 139 witnesses, including the victim and Bradley Aldrich. The investigation found that president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac met with John McDonough, Jay Blunk, Kevin Cheveldayoff, Joel Quenneville and James Gary met in May 2010 to discuss the allegations.

No action was taken for three weeks, till after the Blackhawks won and celebrated the 2010 Stanley Cup.

As a result of the investigation, Bowman has "stepped aside" from the organization and MacIsaac has been relieved of his duties.

The firm has released a full report and the team addressed a letter to their fans.

You can ready the letter in its entirety below:

"A Letter to our Fans, Partners and Community –

"The Blackhawks are more than just a hockey team. We are a community that is built upon the trust and support of our fans, players, employees, and partners.

"That trust was shaken when disturbing allegations recently came to light about our handling of sexual misconduct that occurred eleven years ago. When we learned of these detailed allegations as part of recent public reports, our ownership initiated an independent investigation led by the law firm Jenner & Block to determine what occurred and how our organization responded.

"Jenner & Block has delivered their findings to the organization and the report can be read in full here: [Content warning: The report contains graphic descriptions that some may find upsetting or offensive.] The report details very troubling events that occurred in 2010 and outlines the Blackhawks’ knowledge and treatment of those events at that time.

"It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents. We deeply regret the harm caused to John Doe and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond. As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must – and will – do better.

"What we do off the ice is equally as important as anything we do on it. Our ownership and leadership teams are committed to ensuring that the Blackhawks adhere to the highest ethical, professional, and athletic standards. We will not tolerate behavior that is antithetical to our values from any member of the organization, nor will we accept the type of inaction that allows such issues to continue unchecked.

"Since 2010, we have implemented numerous positive changes throughout our organization, especially over the past year – including more clearly defining organizational structure, alongside the hiring of new personnel who demonstrate our values and bring the right subject matter expertise in the areas of compliance, human resources and mental health & wellbeing.

"We have policies, procedures and practices in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, including policies that require leaders to report any suspected or actual harassment reported to them or which they observe, as well as processes to appropriately handle and investigate any reports of misconduct of any type by employees or third parties.

"We have reviewed and modernized our employee handbook to ensure best practices, including our Anti-Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policies.

"The entire Blackhawks organization participates in mandatory annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings and, as part of that, we clearly communicated several mechanisms for reporting of concerns including internal and third-party options such as the NHL’s anonymous hotline operated by Deloitte.

"We believe these actions underscore and solidify our commitment to ensuring that the failures of the past will not be repeated. We intend to win championships without ever compromising our integrity.

"To our fans, employees, players, partners, sponsors, and the entire Blackhawks community – Thank you for standing by us. As we move forward, we are committed to continuing to earn your trust and support both on and off the ice."

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