The National Hockey League announced Friday that Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was not responsible for the improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks related to the Brad Aldrich matter in 2010 and will not be disciplined.
The decision comes after Cheveldayoff, who was assistant general manager of the Blackhawks during the 2009-10 season, met with commissioner Gary Bettman in New York.
“While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with the same broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person,” said Bettman. “Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility for the Club’s actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”
An independent investigation commissioned by the Blackhawks showed that Cheveldayoff, who was the Blackhawks' assistant general manager during the 2009-10 season, was made aware of claims from former player Kyle Beach that he was sexually assaulted by then-video coach Aldrich along with front office members John McDonough, Al MacIsaac, Stan Bowman, Jay Blunk, James Gary, and then-head coach Joel Quenneville, and elected not to act during the team's Stanley Cup run.
"As the Jenner & Block Report, subsequent review by the League this week, and today’s interview with Cheveldayoff make clear, Cheveldayoff’s participation at the May 23, 2010, meeting involving senior leaders from the Blackhawks’ management team was extremely limited in scope and substance," the league's statement read Friday. "In fact, in the course of the investigation, most of the participants in the May 23 meeting did not initially recall that Cheveldayoff was even present.
"As an Assistant General Manager at the time, Cheveldayoff, who reported directly to Stan Bowman, was the lowest ranking Club official in the room, and his position included no oversight responsibilities over the Club’s coaching staff. He was among the last to be included in the meeting; he was learning of the subject matter for the first time in the presence of his boss (then-GM Stan Bowman), his boss’ boss (then-CEO John McDonough) and the Head Coach (Joel Quenneville), who was Brad Aldrich’s direct superior; he had limited familiarity with the personnel involved; and he was essentially an observer to the discussion of possible next steps, which discussion, apparently, ended with Cheveldayoff believing that the matter was going to be investigated.
"Cheveldayoff’s role within the Blackhawks’ organization at the time not only left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions relating to this matter, but as importantly, he was not thereafter even in a position to have sufficient information to assess whether or not the matter was being adequately addressed by the Blackhawks. In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the Club’s response.
"Given these findings, the NHL has determined that Kevin Cheveldayoff should not be subject to discipline in the Brad Aldrich matter."
Cheveldayoff then released the following statement from the Jets on social media:
"First and most importantly, I want to express my support of and empathy for Kyle Beach and all he has had to endure since 2010. He was incredibly brave coming forward to tell his story. We can all use his courage as an inspiration to do a better job of making hockey a safer space for anyone who wants to play the game.
"Further, I want to express my gratitude to the National Hockey League for the opportunity to meet with Commissioner Gary Bettman, in person, and directly share my role in and recollection of events while I was Assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010."
Quenneville resigned from his position as head coach of the Florida Panthers on Thursday after he met with Bettman. Bowman resigned from his position as general manager of both the Blackhawks and United States men's Olympic hockey team Tuesday, while MacIsaac, the only other member of the group listed still with the Blackhawks, was also dismissed.
Cheveldayoff, who has served as the Jets' general manager since 2011, said in July he had "no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich" until being asked just prior to the end of his tenure with the Blackhawks.
The 51-year-old has seen the Jets make the playoffs five times in his 10 seasons as general manager, including each of the past four years. Winnipeg reached the Western Conference Final in 2018.