Content Warning: The following article contains references to sexual assault
A former Miami (of Ohio) University student who alleges he was raped by Brad Aldrich says the one-time Chicago Blackhawks video coach groomed him using his Stanley Cup ring, Olympic silver medal, and other hockey memorabilia.
During a Zoom video interview with TSN last week, the former student said he met Aldrich in the fall of 2011 when both worked for the NCAA school’s men’s hockey team.
The former student, who is now in his 30s and working in the hockey industry, has asked for anonymity. TSN has a policy to not name sexual assault survivors without their permission and will refer to him in reporting as John Doe 3.
John Doe 3 is among three potential plaintiffs who are weighing lawsuits against the Blackhawks. All three are represented by Christopher Cortese, a lawyer with the Chicago law firm Hurley, McKenna & Mertz.
Cortese said he contacted the Blackhawks in December of 2021 to detail the allegations of the potential plaintiffs against the NHL team, two months after Kyle Beach and a former high school hockey player who was sexually assaulted by Aldrich settled their lawsuits against the Blackhawks.
Cortese told TSN in an interview that his firm is preparing to file litigation against the team. The allegations leveled by the plaintiffs have not been proven in court. A Blackhawks spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
John Doe 3 said Aldrich confided in him that he was gay and told him the Blackhawks had helped Aldrich secure a job at the Ohio school after he left the NHL team.
“Brad told me that he was tired of the travel of the NHL and that after winning the Stanley Cup, he had achieved his goals in that league,” John Doe 3 said. “He said that the Blackhawks recommended he work with Miami of Ohio because the school had really supported the You Can Play program it had established because of Brendan Burke.”
Burke, the son of Pittsburgh Penguins executive Brian Burke, worked as student manager with the Miami University RedHawks hockey team. After Brendan was killed in a car accident in 2010, his family started the You Can Play program in conjunction with Miami University as a tribute to Brendan to fight homophobia in sports.
Aldrich met John Doe 3 during the 2011-12 school year when Aldrich was hired as a video coach by the school’s hockey program.
“All the time he was talking about Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Stan Bowman and how great all those guys were and how he was friends with them,” John Doe 3 said. “I just thought, ‘Holy cow, this is awesome. This guy’s life is exactly what I want.’ ”
John Doe 3 said he was assaulted by Aldrich in October 2012. He said that after finishing up work at the university’s hockey arena, Aldrich suggested the two go to a local pub and told John Doe 3 he could stay overnight at his apartment.
“We went back to his apartment, and he’s got this memorabilia wall set up with the Olympic silver medal and his gold medal from [the women's] juniors,” John Doe 3 said. “There’s a picture of him holding up the Stanley Cup and he’s also got his Stanley Cup ring there on the shelf, which he lets me try on.”
(Aldrich worked as a video coach for the silver medal-winning U.S. Olympic men's hockey team during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and for the U.S. Women's Under-18 team in 2011.)
John Doe 3 said that after the two drank a few more beers he went to sleep on Aldrich’s couch and woke up in the middle of the night with Aldrich on top of him.
“When I woke up, my pants were around my ankles, he was playing with my penis, and it was all wet down there,” John Doe 3 said. “He clearly had been performing oral sex on me. I got up and said, ‘What the f--- are you doing?’ And I left his apartment.”
Aldrich resigned from Miami University on Nov. 27, 2012, according to school records. An independent investigation commissioned by the university concluded there were two credible allegations of sexual assault against Aldrich at the school between July and November 2012.
The first credible allegation of sexual assault, which did not involve John Doe 3, occurred during American Thanksgiving weekend and involved a non-student who previously worked at the school’s summer hockey camps as an intern. A week after that alleged incident, Aldrich was informed by the school that it was investigating the allegations and he resigned.
Barnes & Thornburg, the law firm hired by Miami University to investigate allegations involving Aldrich, reported in September 2021 that John Doe 3’s claims were also credible.
John Doe 3 said he didn’t tell anyone what happened for several years and began drinking heavily to self-medicate.
“I was drinking every single day, school was never the same, and in 2013 I wound up transferring to another university,” he said.
John Doe 3 said that Aldrich kept sending him text messages, at one point telling him that news would surface that Aldrich had been charged with sexual assault in Michigan involving a former high school hockey player.
“He told me not to believe it because it was just a kid complaining he didn’t get ice time,” John Doe 3 said. “He kept messaging on text, on Facebook, on Snapchat and I just tried to ignore him.”
After sharing that he was raped with the hockey team video coordinator at his new school, John Doe 3 contacted Miami University police to report the assault.
He said the school told him it didn’t have jurisdiction. After John Doe 3 in July of 2018 reached out to police in Oxford, Ohio, he said an officer told him not to bother making a report because the statute of limitations had expired, and Aldrich could not be charged.
“I was insistent to make the report because I wanted a record of what happened in case Aldrich tried anything like this again,” John Doe 3 said.
John Doe 3 said he is still affected by the alleged sexual assault.
“I have not had a relationship since then,” he said. “Not one. I just have such a hard time trusting anyone.”
Another potential plaintiff who has retained Cortese’s firm is the former Blackhawks player referred to as Black Ace 1 in a report by Chicago law firm Jenner & Block that was made public in October.
That report concluded that after Beach and Black Ace 1 reported Aldrich’s sexual misconduct to the team, the Blackhawks covered it up and refused to report Aldrich to police.
The report also details Aldrich’s interactions with Black Ace 1, who, like Beach, is still playing professional hockey in Europe.
Black Ace 1 told Jenner & Block attorneys that Aldrich told him that he was gay at some point during the 2010 NHL playoffs. After this discussion, Black Ace 1 said he received a text message from Aldrich in which Aldrich wrote that he could give a better “blow job” than any woman could.
Black Ace 1 recalled receiving a text message from Aldrich on May 21 or May 23, 2010, that included a photo of a penis. Black Ace 1 told Jenner & Block investigators that a Blackhawks front office employee was standing next to him when he received the text with the explicit photo.
Black Ace 1 said the employee later pushed him to report Aldrich’s inappropriate text message. The employee also told investigators that she told a hockey operations employee about the text message and that Aldrich was harassing Black Ace 1.
While Black Ace 1 told investigators that he never had any sexual contact with Aldrich, rumours of an incident between the two followed Black Ace 1 for years.
Former Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent has also retained Cortese and is also exploring a legal claim. Vincent alleges that he was blacklisted by the NHL team after he said he urged its senior executives in May 2010 to report Aldrich’s alleged sexual misconduct to police.
Vincent said Blackhawks management lashed back at him after he pressured the team’s top executives to report Aldrich’s alleged abuse of Beach and Black Ace 1 to police.
“I did my job helping Blackhawks players in the NHL and in the minors get better and get more prepared,” Vincent said in an interview last week. “And after we won the Stanley Cup, I went into a meeting with [then vice-president of hockey operations] Al MacIsaac and he told me he was going to offer me a contract for half what I had been making, and it was going to be with the team’s American Hockey League team. They were punishing me. They did not like me pushing for them to report Brad Aldrich to the police.”
Vincent said that his life was thrown into turmoil during the summer of 2021 after he publicly corroborated Beach’s allegations during a series of interviews with TSN.
"The stress of coming forward and putting my name out there corroborating what Kyle had said was really hard," Vincent said. "But I was also burdened by shame because I realized that after I told the Blackhawks about what players told me Aldrich had done, I never followed up. And look at what he went on to do. It was overwhelming emotions all last summer that were with me every day."