NHL's Blackhawks hire outside firm to investigate sexual assault allegations

NHL's Blackhawks hire outside firm to investigate sexual assault allegations
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The National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks have hired an outside firm to investigate recent sexual assault allegations made by a former player, ESPN reported Monday.

In a memo obtained by ESPN, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz told staffers that former federal prosecutor Reid Schar will lead a team of “experienced professionals” to investigate the matter. Wirtz added that the firm has no ties with the organization. 

"Much has recently been said and written regarding the two lawsuits filed against the organization stemming from alleged events that occurred in 2010," Wirtz said in the memo. "We want to reiterate to you that we take the allegations described in these lawsuits very seriously. They in no way reflect this organization's culture or values."

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Wirtz then said the Blackhawks organization will not comment further on the ongoing allegations, according to ESPN. 

Chicago-based radio station WBEZ reported on Thursday that an unidentified player filed a lawsuit against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich.  

The lawsuit alleges that during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup championship run, Aldrich used to masturbate and watch pornography in front of the player and threatened to “physically, financially and emotionally” hurt the player if he didn’t engage in sexual acts with him. 

Blackhawks players told TSN on Saturday that they told then-skills coach Paul Vincent about the allegations before the start of the Western Conference Finals. 

Vincent then arranged a meeting with management telling them to contact the police about these allegations, which never happened, according to TSN. 

Aldrich, who used to coach at Miami University, was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student of his in 2013 and was sentenced a year later to nine months in prison and five years of probation. 

Aldrich was placed on Michigan’s registry of sex offenders, ESPN noted.