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Florida Panthers head coach resigns in wake of Blackhawks sex abuse scandal

Associated Press / Nam Y. Huh

Joel Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers Thursday after a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss his involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse case.

“Following a meeting with Mr. Quenneville that took place this afternoon in my office, all parties agreed that it was no longer appropriate that he continue to serve as Florida’s head coach,” Bettman said, according to ESPN. “We thank the Panthers’ organization for working with us to ensure that a thorough process was followed.

The investigation found that Quenneville was aware of the situation and took part in at least one meeting regarding the allegations in the 2010 post season, according to ESPN.

“Given the result, there is no need for any further action by the NHL regarding Mr. Quenneville at this time,” Bettman added. “However, should he wish to re-enter the League in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”

The sports outlet reported that assistant coach Andrew Brunette with fill-in for Quenneville temporarily, citing two NHL sources. 

Quenneville was in his third year as head coach and resigned with two more years and about $15 million remaining in his contract.

Quenneville’s resignation comes days after Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks’ general manager and president of hockey operations, resigned on Tuesday.

Former Blackhawks player Kyle Beach revealed that he was the John Doe in the case on Wednesday.

He alleged that former video coach Bradley Aldrich had sexually abused players in May 2010 and that Aldrich threatened to “physically, financially and emotionally” hurt them if they did not engage in sexual acts with him.

“I’ve witnessed meetings, right after I reported it to [Blackhawks mental skills coach] James Gary, that were held in Joel Quenneville’s office,” Beach said, according to ESPN. “There’s absolutely no way that he can deny knowing it.”

“I admire Kyle Beach for his courage in coming forward, am appalled that he was so poorly supported upon making his initial claim and in the 11 years since, and am sorry for all he has endured,” Bettman said, according to ESPN. 

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