A former Chicago Blackhawks player has leveled new accusations against the NHL franchise in his ongoing legal battle against the team for how it handled complaints that he’d been sexually attacked by an assistant coach in 2010.
The unnamed ex-player’s revised complaint goes into greater depth about alleged “lewd and lascivious” sexual misconduct by ex-coach Bradley Aldrich during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning season.
In new court filings, the ex-player alleged Aldrich engaged in “forcibly touching” him, masturbated in front of him without the player’s consent and ejaculated on him while the player was “paralyzed with fear.” Afterward, the suit alleged, Aldrich sent “harassing texts” to the player, encouraging him to visit his apartment.
The updated lawsuit also sheds new light on a meeting of team executives to discuss multiple sexual misconduct allegations against the coach. It alleges that after the encounters between Aldrich and the player, teammates directed humiliating, sexually derisive “trash talking” at the player during scrimmages when coaches were present.
The unfolding developments Thursday came on the same day that the Blackhawks longtime general manager, Stan Bowman, spoke for the first time about the team’s legal troubles, which have become an international storyline and an embarrassment for the team.
Neither the Blackhawks nor Aldrich’s attorney immediately responded to WBEZ’s requests for comment after the amended lawsuit was filed Thursday afternoon.
The claims against the team have prompted the Blackhawks to hire a law firm to conduct its own investigation into the team’s handling of the complaints, as even more details about Aldrich have come to light.
The player, who remains anonymous and is known as John Doe in court documents, detailed his account of an alleged attack against him by Aldrich, who in 2010 was the Blackhawks video coach. Aldrich has not been criminally charged in relation to the player’s allegations.
In the updated complaint, the player accused Aldrich of inviting him over to his apartment for dinner, to “go over game clips” and to give coaching advice. But while there, Aldrich “turned on pornography and began to masturbate in front of Plaintiff.”
As John Doe attempted to leave, the complaint claims that Aldrich “blocked the only exit from the apartment, grabbed a souvenir Cubs bat from his wall, and physically threatened the Plaintiff with the small bat.”
Aldrich then “verbally threatened” John Doe by stating he would ruin the player’s career and finances if he did not engage in sexual activity with Aldrich, according to the complaint.
The court filing then claims that Aldrich engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with John Doe, “including Aldrich masturbating in front of Plaintiff, forcibly touching Plaintiff, and other lewd and lascivious conduct, until Aldrich ejaculated on Plaintiff while Plaintiff was paralyzed with fear.”
After the incident, Aldrich continued to send “harassing” texts to the player and asked him to come over to his apartment, according to the complaint.
In the years after the alleged incident, the player claims his own teammates would subject him to insults, “calling the player a “fa****, asking if he couldn’t focus because he ‘wanted to suck someone off,’ and commenting that he should ‘go suck a d***,’” the complaint states. The lawsuit doesn’t make clear whether those alleged comments were made by Blackhawks players.
New claims relating to Blackhawks’ handling, ex-coach’s previous jobs
The amended complaint also makes new claims about how Blackhawks management did not contact Chicago Police upon learning of the alleged assault.
It refers to a meeting in which Blackhawks management — including current General Manager Stan Bowman — discussed the allegations. TSN, the Canadian sports network, has previously reported on the meeting.
John Doe also argues the Blackhawks could have done more to investigate Aldrich’s background before hiring him as a video coach in 2008.
Three years prior, for example, police in Marquette, Mich. investigated Aldrich for “having problems with his roommate,” according to a police report obtained by WBEZ. John Doe’s amended complaint states that Aldrich had “inappropriate conduct” with minor players on the Marquette Electricians, a now-disbanded competitive youth hockey team in Michigan.
The new complaint also refers to three University of Notre Dame hockey players who played from 2006 to 2008 when Aldrich worked for the team. According to the complaint, they told news outlets they were “uncomfortable around Aldrich and expressed this discomfort to others on the team.”
A Notre Dame spokesman told WBEZ on Thursday that the university has received no records of complaints against Aldrich.
Additionally, the revised lawsuit alleged that during his stint with the Blackhawks, Aldrich repeatedly invited team interns to his apartment to watch sporting events. The complaint stated that team officials and coaches learned of the practice and thought it was “quite unusual” but did nothing to stop it.
Aldrich, a registered sex offender in Michigan, pleaded guilty to sexual conduct involving a student in 2013 after leaving the Blackhawks. The victim of that crime also is suing the Blackhawks for how the team’s management handled John Doe’s complaints.
Blackhawks GM won’t commit to making team’s internal Aldrich probe public
WBEZ was the first to report about the ex-player’s lawsuit against the Blackhawks, which has now mushroomed into a global sports story involving one of the National Hockey League’s most storied franchises.
The Blackhawks have moved to have the lawsuits dismissed by a Cook County Circuit Court judge, who has yet to rule on the team’s motions.
Bowman, the Blackhawks general manager, addressed reporters earlier Thursday for the first time since John Doe’s lawsuit was first filed but before Doe’s new complaint was released.
“I’m eager to speak about this in more detail in the future, but for now I have to respect the pending litigation and the independent review that’s under way,” Bowman said.
He also would not comment about the May 2010 meeting he allegedly attended with other Blackhawks executives to strategize how to deal with the ex-player’s claims against Aldrich.
“That’s something that’s part of the investigation. It wouldn’t be right for me to be commenting on that right now,” said Bowman, who characterized the climate surrounding the team in the face of the lawsuits as “business as usual.”
Bowman also would not commit to making public the results of an internal investigation being conducted by the law firm Jenner & Block.
WBEZ also has reported that a subsequent Aldrich employer, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, has hired a law firm to investigate his five-month tenure with the university in 2012. The university has acknowledged two individuals – one a former student and the other a non-student – have alleged Aldrich initiated unwanted sexual contact with them.
Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney are reporters for WBEZ. Follow them on Twitter @tonyjarnold and @davemckinney. WBEZ sports reporter Cheryl Raye-Stout contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter @Crayestout.