NHL logo [600x400] - Copy
NHL logo [600x400] - Copy (Credit: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Guardians aim to break road slide take on the Rays

The NHL will allow three former Chicago Blackhawks executives to seek employment in the league after they were banned in October 2021 after an independent investigation into how they handled a sexual assault allegation in 2010.

NHL teams are allowed to speak with Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac and Joel Quenneville about positions with their franchises, but can't enter into new employment relationships with any of them until July 10, the league announced Monday. All three had a role in three Blackhawks Stanley Cup championships.

Bowman was the Blackhawks' president of hockey operations and general manager. MacIsaac was senior director of hockey administration. Both stepped aside from their roles in October 2021. Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers that same month after a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Their ineligibility came after an independent investigation into how the Chicago Blackhawks handled a sexual assault allegation in 2010, when then-player Kyle Beach said he was sexually assaulted by video coach Brad Aldrich. The report said Blackhawks officials didn't want to take action against Aldrich  because they didn't want to disrupt the team's path to the Stanley Cup title.

The NHL never formally suspended any of the three executives, but Bettman said they could return to working in the league under "appropriate conditions." 

"For more than the last two and a half years, these individuals have been ineligible to work for any NHL team as a result of their inadequate response upon being informed in 2010 of allegations that Blackhawks' Player, Kyle Beach, had been assaulted by the Club's video coach," the NHL said in a statement. "While it is clear that, at the time, their responses were unacceptable, each of these three individuals has acknowledged that and used his time away from the game to engage in activities which not only demonstrate sincere remorse for what happened, but also evidence greater awareness of the responsibilities that all NHL personnel have, particularly personnel who are in positions of leadership.

"Moreover, each has made significant strides in personal improvement by participating in myriad programs, many of which focused on the imperative of responding in effective and meaningful ways to address alleged acts of abuse," the statement continued. "The League expects that they will continue this commitment in any future capacity with the NHL and/or one of our Clubs."

Bettman was asked on June 8 about the status of Bowman and Quenneville.

"Currently they're not eligible," he said. "They have both reached out seeking an opportunity to come back and that's something that I have to consider."

A second player from that 2010 Blackhawks team announced he was suing the franchise in November 2023. His suit cited 15 counts of negligence and claims that Aldrich "groomed, harassed, threatened, and assaulted" the player. The players participated in the Jenner & Block report, where he was identified as "Black Ace 1."

Bowman's reinstatement comes at a time when there's speculation the Edmonton Oilers might hire him as the new general manager.

A message sent to Oilers acting general manager and CEO Jeff Jackson seeking comment was not returned.

The only coaching opening in the NHL is with the Columbus Blue Jackets.