Alleged sexual abuse of Blackhawks players was reportedly an 'open secret' among staffers

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Fans wait for the Blackhawks to play the Stars on May 9, 2021, at the United Center. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
More dark details are surfacing from the alleged sexual assaults of two former Blackhawks players in 2010. (Getty)

*Warning: This story contains detailed language and references to sexual assault*

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a video coach for the Chicago Blackhawks allegedly sexually assaulted two players on the team during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, TSN's Rick Westhead reported. 

The alleged incidents were reported by two former players to then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May of 2010 during the Western Conference final. Vincent reportedly told senior management, which refused to report the claims to Chicago police. Adding another dark layer to the story is that the abuse was purportedly an "open secret" within the organization.

According to Westhead, a former team marketing official who asked to remain anonymous over fear of repercussions said he was told by a Blackhawks assistant trainer during the 2010 offseason that then-team video coach Brad Aldrich had allegedly sexually assaulted two players.

“Brad would routinely befriend young interns and invite them to his apartment in Chicago to watch March Madness basketball and other sports,” the marketing official said, according to Westhead.

“I was told to steer clear of him because he had tried something at his apartment on a few players. This was not something that only a few people knew about. The entire training staff, a lot of people knew...This was an open secret.”

The allegations against the Blackhawks organization and its former front office started gaining attention last month after a former player filed a lawsuit against the franchise claiming that his allegations of abuse were covered up by the team and that Aldrich threatened him against filing a complaint. Also in the lawsuit were claims that team sports psychologist James Gary allegedly convinced at least one of the players that he was at fault for the sexual assault.

A second Blackhawks player from the 2010 Cup-winning team also later filed a lawsuit, alleging that the Blackhawks covered up the abuse after two players raised the issue with management, and that the organization gave Aldrich a good reference letter when he left the team, which gave him the opportunity to find other victims, which he did. 

(You can read more about the lawsuits and allegations here.)

Aldrich eventually joined a high school hockey team’s coaching staff and was later charged and convicted of sexual misconduct for a crime that occurred in March 2013. The incident, which involved a 17-year-old victim, involved “sexual touching and a brief instance of oral penetration…” Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in prison and five years of probation, and he is now a registered sex offender in Michigan.

A year earlier, according to Westhead, Aldrich resigned as the director of hockey operations at Miami University — an NCAA Division 1 program — in November of 2012, “under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult,” the university’s attorney told police, according to TSN.

No one from the Blackhawks organization or anyone allegedly involved in these allegations has commented to this point.

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