Content Warning: The following article contains references to sexual assault
A former Chicago Blackhawks player alleges in a new court filing that he was coaxed to visit then-video coach Brad Aldrich’s apartment in May of 2010 with the promise that the two would review game video together.
But after the player arrived at Aldrich’s apartment, Aldrich turned on pornography, began to masturbate, and threatened the player with a baseball bat, the court filing says, adding that Aldrich then ejaculated on the player while he was “paralyzed with fear.”
The details are included in documents filed Thursday in connection with two lawsuits filed against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
In one lawsuit, a former Blackhawks player who is identified in court records as John Doe 1, alleges that he and a teammate were sexually assaulted by Aldrich, who is no longer with the organization. The player alleges that after he shared news of the assaults with team sports psychologist James Gary, he was told the incident was his fault.
A second lawsuit filed against the Blackhawks by a former high school hockey player in Michigan referred to in court documents as John Doe 2 alleges that, after learning of the allegations against Aldrich, the team allowed him to remain on staff through the summer of 2010 and then gave him a positive job reference. That reference allowed him to coach with a high school team in Houghton, Mich., where Aldrich sexually assaulted the teenaged player.
Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in prison and probation for 60 months. Court records show he was tested for HIV and completed probation Feb. 13, 2019.
The new court records, filed by the plaintiffs in response to the Blackhawks’ motions to dismiss that were filed earlier this month, offer more details about both the allegations and the fallout after the former Blackhawks player reported the alleged abuse to his team.
After the former Blackhawks player left Aldrich’s apartment, he says Aldrich continued to send him harassing text messages.
“The assaulter, Mr. Aldrich, threatened to ruin plaintiff’s hockey career if he did not keep quiet about the assault,” the court filing says. “Plaintiff spent the next nine years ignoring and suppressing memories of the assault until he learned that Mr. Aldrich was convicted of molesting a 17-year-old boy. It was only at this time that plaintiff reflected on his own victimization and how it had affected his life.”
After the former Blackhawks player went to Gary with news of the alleged assault but was rebuffed, he then discussed the situation with Paul Vincent, a team skills coach, the court filing says.
Vincent told TSN in an interview that Blackhawks officials, including then-team president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, and Gary, refused his request to report the alleged abuse to Chicago police.
After reporting the abuse to team management, the former Blackhawks player said he began being targeted by his teammates.
“In the years following the abuse of plaintiff, John Doe, by Aldrich, Plaintiff was subjected to humiliating trash talking by his teammates during scrimmages where coaches were present,” the court documents say. “The Blackhawks… permitted its players to repeatedly harass plaintiff by calling him a ‘f****t,’ and asking him if he couldn’t focus because he ‘wanted to suck someone off,’ among other similar harassing statements.”
Bowman refused to discuss the allegations against the team during a conference call with media on Thursday.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to be commenting about that right now,” Bowman said. “We have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today.”
Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was the Blackhawks' assistant general manager during the 2009-10 season, said in a news release today that he would cooperate with the independent investigation by the Chicago law firm Jenner & Block that has been commissioned by the Blackhawks.
“I had no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks,” Cheveldayoff wrote in a statement.