Jul 22, 2021 - Sports

New allegations emerge in sexual assault suit against ex-Blackhawks coach

Photo of a hockey player in red facing off against a hockey player in green on ice

Photo: Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

An amended sexual assault lawsuit against former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Brad Aldrich contains new allegations that Aldrich threatened a former player with a souvenir baseball bat before forcing nonconsensual sex, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Why it matters: Aldrich, who worked as an assistant high school hockey coach after leaving the Blackhawks, was convicted on criminal sexual conduct charges involving a student in 2013, per AP. The unnamed player sued the team earlier this year, alleging a pattern of inaction that enabled Aldrich to continue his behavior for years and later abuse the student.

Details: The amended suit alleges that Aldrich "repeatedly invited young [Blackhawks] interns" to his private apartment, and that team employees "were aware of this behavior and found it to be quite unusual."

  • In May 2010, the former player — named in the suit as John Doe — was at Aldrich's place for coaching advice when Aldrich turned on pornography and began to masturbate in front of him, the lawsuit alleges.
  • Brandishing a bat and blocking the only exit from the apartment, Aldrich allegedly threatened the player with financial ruin and a destroyed career if he did not give into Aldrich's demands of nonconsensual sex.
  • The former player, who is seeking more than $150,000 in damages, also accuses Aldrich of assaulting another unidentified Blackhawks player.

Two Blackhawks players reported Aldrich's misconduct to then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010, according to TSN.

  • Leadership allegedly took no action.
  • Meanwhile, other Blackhawks players used homophobic language to repeatedly harass the victim while coaches were present, per the lawsuit.

Worth noting: The former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting filed a separate lawsuit against the Blackhawks in May, claiming the team gave Houghton High School a "positive review and/or employment verification" of Aldrich despite allegations from at least one player.

  • The student was a hockey player at Houghton when Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2013.

What they're saying: "Had the Blackhawks accurately reported what had occurred with John Doe 1, then Aldrich would never have been allowed to be in a position where he could molest other people," Susan Loggans, who represents both plaintiffs, told AP.

  • An attorney for Aldrich told WBEZ that his client denies the allegations.
  • "The reaction whenever you hear allegations like that are concerning. But my first reaction is, 'Tell me the facts,'" NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman later said in an interview with WBEZ.
  • The Blackhawks said in a statement to the radio station that the allegations against the team "lack merit." Its media office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
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