Tag Archives: Hockey

Where do the NHL & the Chicago Blackhawks go from here?

Jenner & Block LLP released the lengthy results of their investigation into allegations that Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich assaulted prospect Kyle Beach during the 2010 season. The allegations surfaced during their second-round series against Vancouver and Conference Final series against San Jose. Instead of making the allegations public and protecting the life of a young, promising hockey player, the executives and coaching staff decided to prioritize their playoff run. After submitting a lawsuit in May 2021, the Blackhawks launched an investigation into their handling of the allegations. Following the release of the Jenner & Block investigation, Kyle Beach came forward on a TSN interview to speak about the life-changing consequences that resulted from this terrible incident.

Three weeks ago, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with Kyle Beach over Zoom. Susan Loggins, Beach’s attorney, said Bettman offered Beach help during their call, including therapy and psychological assistance. He also met with the Blackhawks on November 2 and spoke with Don Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association). The NHL fined the Chicago Blackhawks $2 million on Tuesday for, according to CNN, “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response.”

Around the league, executives and coaches from the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks team are facing harsh punishments for the cover-up. However, the NHL decided not to discipline Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Chelyeldayoff though he was assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks when the allegations surfaced. He met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on October 29. According to ESPN, the NHL “concluded that Cheveldayoff was not responsible for the improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks related to the Brad Aldrich matter in 2010, which decisions resulted in the Club’s delayed and inadequate response to a report of serious, inappropriate conduct as between Aldrich and the Blackhawk’s prospect, Kyle Beach.” Cheveldayoff was present at a meeting on May 23, 2010, where executives and coaching staff discussed and decided to cover up the allegations. 

Embed from Getty Images

“While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with some broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person. 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’ 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.” With that said, Stan Bowman, general manager of the Blackhawks, and Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Florida Panthers and former head coach of the Blackhawks, resigned after pressure from the NHL.

Sadly, following Brad Aldrich’s exit from the Blackhawks, his horrible actions continued. In 2012 and 2018, sexual assault allegations against Aldrich surfaced from Miami (OH) University while he worked there. He went to Miami after leaving the Blackhawks but resigned after four months with the university. Excluding these allegations, Aldrich served nine months in prison after having sexual contact with a student at a Michigan high school. 

Within the National Hockey League, Don Fehr and the Players Association approved an independent investigation into their handling of the allegations. Fehr held a call between players and the league because the players were concerned about the handling of the situation. Beach contacted the NHLPA in 2010 and received no response from leadership.

Two weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune quoted Kyle Beach from his TSN interview: “I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after. I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr. And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how that can be your leader. I don’t know how he can be in charge.” According to the Tribune, Beach spoke with a doctor at the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, which should have resulted in further action in 2010. 

Finally, Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, wrote a letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame suggesting the removal of Brad Aldrich’s name from the Stanley Cup. On November 3, the Hockey Hall of Fame crossed out his name while adding the 2020-21 Tampa Bay Lightning to the trophy.

“While nothing can undo what he did, leaving his name on the most prestigious trophy in sports seems profoundly wrong,” Wirtz wrote in his letter.

Embed from Getty Images

Stemming from the fan outrage directed at Gary Bettman, the NHL took more action than I thought they would. However, they need to do more to protect the players, and punishments need to be more serious to help prevent this from happening again. Ten years ago, the New Jersey Devils circumvented the salary cap by signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a massive 17-year, $102 million contract. The NHL fined New Jersey $3 million and rescinded a first and third-round draft selection. Also, last season, the NHL stripped the Arizona Coyotes of a 2020 second-round and 2021 first-round draft pick for breaking a scouting rule. I find it outrageous that the NHL subjected a more significant punishment for cap circumvention and illegal scouting than covering up a sexual assault and endangering the life of a young man. $2 million, especially for a Chicago Blackhawks team worth $1.1 billion, is a slap on the wrist. The NHL is famous for delivering cheap fines, especially to players, where penalties for serious offenses can range from only $2,500 to $5,000.

It seems Gary Bettman’s philosophy as commissioner is to keep his job for as long as he can. By delivering cheap punishments, he stays in his position and keeps the owners happy. Before the present-day NHL, where free agency did not exist and owners had complete control over their players, the commissioner did whatever the owners wanted. There was not a players’ association nor another league for them to play in. The NHL owned its players and made money off them to play hockey in the greatest league in the world. However, in 1972, two businessmen founded the World Hockey Association as the most significant competitor to the NHL. Though it folded after eight seasons, it forced the NHL to implement free agency and spread money between the owners and players. Still, the NHL is run the same way, with the commissioner doing what the owners want while angering the players to a point where there is nothing they can do. The fan outrage toward Gary Bettman is for a reason, yet the NHL owners will not do their job and vote him out.

Embed from Getty Images

Other than that, the Blackhawks and other organizations have done their jobs to remove the 2010 executives from the league. Stan Bowman resigned as the Blackhawks general manager and president of the 2022 US Olympic men’s hockey team. Also, the Florida Panthers fired Joel Quenneville from his head coaching position, hopefully completely ridding him of another head coaching job. The only position left intact is Jonathan Toews as captain of the Blackhawks. Though a young man—he was only twenty-two at the time—the Blackhawks should not have named him captain if he did not have the leadership skills to step up in a challenging situation. If Beach’s allegations of verbal assault in the locker room are true, Toews must have known about it and decided to let it go. He should have gathered the team together and rallied around Beach to make the allegations widely known. It is challenging to place a young man in, but a captain needs to support his teammates, no matter the consequences.

Overall, the NHL needs to completely change its culture, whether in the executive office or ownership. Keeping players safe should be the number one priority instead of ensuring a profit for already wealthy owners. If the NHL wants to garner more fans and generate excitement for their brand, they need leadership focused on the players instead of the owners.

Alex Kwas is a freshman member of The Quill

Ice Gaels have their sights set on a championship run

When people our age think of MSJ sports, it’s most often football or basketball. Many people forget that the ice hockey team won 9 straight MIAA championships from ‘99-’07 and another in 2011. Yet everyone knows about that win in 2017 against Calvert Hall that went to overtime, resulting in another MSJ championship. Most people who understand the legacy that St. Joe hockey has, see it as one of the most underrated sports here because of how competitive the team has been for a while.

Noah Blonder
Class of 2018, Noah Blonder, saluting the fans after a playoff goal against Calvert Hall. (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

In an interview with Michael Garvin, senior Tier I ice hockey player, he was asked certain questions to further explain and show why MSJ ice hockey is so important to the people who care about it and to exploit the hype around the team this upcoming year.

High expectations can easily get the best of you and put your confidence through the roof. Usually you do not play as hard as you would when you’re the underdog. You have to push to win and last year the Ice Gaels had too much confidence. An overwhelming, and self-defeating confidence. But this year, the men in purple are ready for battle and have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Coming up short in the MIAA finals really took the spirit out of the team for a bit. That seems to be the way it is for a couple of players but now it’s back and they are more ready then ever. The magic is hopefully back at the Mount and it is ring season for the ice Gaels, once again says Michael Garvin. “There’s definitely some motivation… we’re gonna be going for it this year.” Michael Garvin declared.

Getting ready to take on Spalding – The calm before the storm (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Tryouts for the team just concluded and the new recruits are looking strong. They seem to know how much this means to the upperclassmen and they’re willing to give it whatever they can. With a strong, deep offense, powerful and skilled defensive core, and great goaltending from Connor Churko, senior goalie, the Gaels are looking stronger than ever. The team just won its opener against Marriotts Ridge on Monday night, 5-2. Opening the scoring, for the Gaels, was Sophomore forward, Jorrdan Osafo, on the penalty kill. A few minutes after Senior forward, Frankie Gregorini, came out of the penalty box, after a 5 minute major for a monster hit, and scored 10 seconds after the penalty expired giving the Gaels a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Senior Connor Churko went 16-18 saving shots on goal to seal the win.

Senior goalie, Connor Churko, stopping a shot against Gonzaga (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

The one major thing that the Gaels can pride themselves on is their top of the line student section. They bring the life every time they come. However, not as many students show up for ice hockey like they do for some of St. Joe’s other sports. The Ice Gaels have plenty of big games and the more people that come, the more intensity the guys play with. Ethan Hall, the team manager from last year, said “Some games can be mellow but the big games are why I love the sport so much more than just the game.” He continued to talk about his experience. “All the students are involved and rally behind each other (with) every check and every chance on the ice.”

Michael Garvin carrying the puck up the ice (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Off the ice, the guys are hard at work during school hours. There are a number of guys with GPA’s above a 4.0 such as Michael Garvin, Connor Flynn, and starting goalie, Connor Churko. When asked about balancing a hard work schedule and a hefty hockey schedule, Garvin simply said, “It’s not fun, but it has to be done.” They know what it takes to be a true student-athlete. The demands of a long season are something that every player on the team feels.

Looking forward to the season, the team knows that they can play a great game and they are expected to do well. More support and attendance from the student body is what they are in desperate need of. With some wins and some publicity, the team is hoping the fans come out in droves as the season progresses. Anything less than an MIAA championship this year will be a letdown for all the people involved.

8D5A6D96-4B91-4C8F-B277-9E790B5CAC3AFrank Gregorini is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.