In May, an anonymous former Chicago Blackhawks player made a bombshell allegation against the National Hockey League franchise: that he and another player were sexually assaulted by an assistant coach on the 2010 championship team. His lawsuit against the Blackhawks claims the organization did nothing in response to his complaints.
The Blackhawks say the allegations lack merit and believe the organization will be absolved of wrongdoing.
Since that court filing, a WBEZ investigation has shed new light on the allegations against then-video coach Brad Aldrich, who would go on to work for other hockey programs after leaving the Blackhawks — and face other claims of inappropriate behavior. Aldrich was convicted in 2013 of criminal sexual conduct involving a student in Michigan.
Here is a timeline of events that are known so far.
July 2008: Bradley Aldrich, 25, is hired to be the Chicago Blackhawks video coach. A graduate of Northern Michigan University, according to his resume, Aldrich had previously worked as a coordinator of hockey operations and video coach for the University of Notre Dame.
May 2010: A lawsuit filed in May 2021 by a former Blackhawks player, identified as John Doe 1, alleges that in May 2010, as the Blackhawks were a month away from winning the Stanley Cup, Bradley Aldrich sent him inappropriate text messages, turned on porn and masturbated in front of him, threatened him if he didn’t engage in sexual activity with him and sexually assaulted him.
The ex-Blackhawk player also contends in his complaint that when he disclosed the misconduct to a team mental skills coach, that coach said “the sexual assault was his fault, that he was culpable for what happened, made mistakes during his encounter with the perpetrator and permitted the sexual assault to occur.” The lawsuit alleges that the Blackhawks subsequently did nothing to Aldrich.
The player’s lawsuit stated that he “suppressed” memories of the alleged 2010 misconduct by Aldrich until July 2019.
June 2010: The Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.
July 2010: Brad Aldrich leaves the Blackhawks, according to his resume included in his personnel file and his former LinkedIn page.
November 2010: Brad Aldrich begins working for the USA Hockey Women’s National Team, according to his resume.
September 2011: Brad Aldrich goes to work for the University of Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena as an Asst. Programming/Instruction Manager, according to his resume.
July 2012: Brad Aldrich is hired by Miami University to be Director of Hockey Operations.
October-November 2012: According to a Miami University Police Department investigative report, on Sept. 7, 2018, a former Miami University student told police that while he was a student at the school, Aldrich allegedly assaulted him. After a night of drinking with Aldrich, the former student said he went to his home and was startled awake by Aldrich, according to the report. Although some details were redacted from the report provided by FOIA to WBEZ, the former student said he shoved Aldrich off of him and walked home.
When interviewed by police in 2018, the former student said he did not want to press charges against the school or Aldrich, but wanted police to record what happened “in case he ever does something like this again, particularly to children.” Aldrich was not charged.
November 2012: Aldrich resigned from Miami University “under suspicion of unwanted touching of an adult male,” according to a Houghton, Mich., police investigative report.
In an email to WBEZ, the university said this second alleged victim was separate from the allegation detailed in the 2018 police report. This one allegedly involved an “off-campus sexual assault involving a non-student adult and Brad Aldrich,” Miami University wrote. Miami University said its police department reached out to the alleged victim, but the individual declined to make a report.
March 2013: Brad Aldrich is working as a volunteer hockey coach for a high school team in Houghton, Mich.
A teen from the team alleged to police that Aldrich sexually assaulted him at a party after a hockey game, according to an investigative report later taken by police. In an interview with police, Aldrich admitted he committed sexual acts against the teen and knew it was wrong because he was his coach.
September-October 2013: Houghton, Mich., police investigate the March incident and several other allegations against Brad Aldrich, according to an investigative report.
In one allegation, a teen told police that when he was 16, Aldrich picked him up at a county fair in Houghton and had sexual contact with him, after which he was “uncomfortable with the situation.” Another allegation stemmed from an incident in September 2013, when Aldrich allegedly put his hands down the pants of a girl in front of him at Aldrich’s home and inappropriately touched her, according to the report. Another person alleged Aldrich committed unwanted sexual contact with him in 2012, climbing on him and touching him inappropriately as he told him to stop, the report stated.
Oct. 2, 2013: Houghton County prosecutors charged Brad Aldrich, 30, with a felony for the assault against the teen in March. Aldrich later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual conduct involving a student and was placed on the Michigan sex offender registry. None of the other allegations detailed in the Houghton police report resulted in criminal charges.
September 2018: Miami University police investigated Aldrich when a former student raised allegations that stemmed from 2012. The investigation ended without police interviewing Aldrich or charging him, according to public documents obtained by WBEZ. Miami University police indicated in a report it would forward the case to local police. But the Oxford Police Department and county prosecutors’ office have no record of a complaint against Aldrich. The university’s Title IX office similarly opened an investigation but closed it without action, noting Aldrich no longer worked at the university and the alleged victim did not return messages.
May 2021: The former Blackhawks player filed a civil lawsuit against the team for failure to take any action when he says he raised sexual assault allegations in 2010. A second lawsuit is filed by John Doe 2, the former teen who Aldrich was convicted of assaulting, accusing the Blackhawks of inaction in its investigation of the 2010 allegations by the former player.
June 2021: The Blackhawks launch their own internal investigation into the allegations, hiring Chicago lawyer Reid Schar, a prominent former federal prosecutor, to lead it. Miami University also announces it has opened an internal investigation, hiring a law firm to review what happened during Aldrich’s employment.