Columnist image
Rick Westhead

TSN Senior Correspondent

|Archive

A lawyer for a former Chicago Blackhawks player who alleges he and another teammate were sexually assaulted by a former video coach with the National Hockey League team is asking a judge to order the team to turn over all records relating to the allegations.

In a document filed Wednesday in Cook County Court in Chicago, Susan Loggans, an attorney for the former player, asked the Blackhawks be ordered to produce emails, meeting notes, and other records related to her client’s alleged abuse.

The former Blackhawks player, who is unidentified in court documents and referred to as “John Doe (1)” is at the centre of a legal battle how the NHL club responded to multiple incidents of alleged abuse during the 2009-10 season. The former player says then-video coach Brad Aldrich assaulted him and another player. The player also says the Blackhawks covered up the allegations instead of forwarding them to police.

Another lawsuit filed against the team by a former high school hockey player known as "John Doe (2)" alleges that the Blackhawks covered up Aldrich's abuse of their players and gave him a letter of reference. Aldrich then allegedly left the NHL team and worked with a high school team, where he was convicted of sexually abusing "John Doe (2)."

Loggans made 31 separate requests for documents in her court filing. Among her requests: “Personnel files relating to Bradley Aldrich, including any letters of reference or recommendation” and, “Any emails phone messages memos or other interoffice communications regarding Bradley Aldrich between or among the defendant, the Blackhawks, employers, management employers, and/or executives.”

John Stiglich, a lawyer for the Blackhawks, wrote in a court document filed Friday that Loggans’ request should be denied because it was premature.

The Blackhawks have asked that the case be dismissed because it was not filed within a limitation period. The team also says that the former player's complaint should have been made via a workers' compensation claim.

The Blackhawks have “a pending motion to dismiss,” Stiglich wrote. “If this court grants [the Blackhawks] pending motion to dismiss, then plaintiff’s case will likely be dismissed with prejudice and render discovery moot. Therefore, the parties should wait until this court renders its decision on [the Blackhawks] pending motion to dismiss before engaging in discovery.”

Blackhawks senior management allegedly refused to file a report to Chicago police during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs after two players claimed a video coach who worked with the franchise had sexually assaulted them, former Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent told TSN in an interview.



During a May 17, 2010, meeting with then-Blackhawks president John McDonough, vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman and team sports psychologist James Gary, then-skills coach Vincent said he shared what the players had told him about being assaulted and asked the team executives to contact the sex crimes division of the Chicago police. Vincent said his request was denied.

Loggans has also asked for the NHL team’s records related to that May 17, 2010, meeting.

She’s also asked a judge to order the Blackhawks to produce any documents sent to or received from the NHL Players’ Association relating to “John Doe (1)” and the full and complete personnel file of “John Doe (1)” and “any and all training manuals, videos, instruction materials you utilize to train hockey players regarding how to handle all media appearances, press related meetings, and/or interviews.”

Loggans also has asked the Blackhawks for documents sent to or received from the Chicago Police Department regarding investigations into any employee of the NHL team.

The Blackhawks have said that the former player’s complaint was investigated and was found to be without merit. Loggans has also asked for ”full details of that investigation, including information about who participated in the investigations, when the investigations took place, and whether any written reports were prepared.”

She has also asked for all of the team’s records relating to “each allegation of sexual exploitation, whether or not credible, made against any of employees and/or agents of defendant, the Blackhawks…”

Loggans said in an interview that if a judge denies the Blackhawks' motion and allows the case to proceed, she'll begin the process of issuing subpoenas to current and former Blackhawks officials. It's also possible she could subpoena NHL executives if records show the league has had any correspondence and involvement in the team’s response to the alleged assaults.

Loggans has already notified the Blackhawks she intends to depose four team employees, court records show. Those employees have not been publicly identified.