NHL Reinstates Joel Quenneville, Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac from Blackhawks Scandal-Related Suspensions

After three years in exile over what the NHL deemed an “inadequate response” to Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich, former head coach Joel Quenneville, general manager Stan Bowman and executive director Al MacIsaac were rehired by the NHL on Monday. They are now eligible to seek employment with an NHL team effective immediately and could begin work as soon as July 10.

The league issued an indefinite suspension of the three after the release of the Jenner and Block Report, an independent review of the allegations and response commissioned by the Blackhawks, in October 2021. According to the report, the three men, along with Blackhawks president John McDonough, CEO Jay Blank, and assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (now the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets), were told of Beach’s allegations during a meeting after the Blackhawks won Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference Final, which secured them a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

Mental skills coach Jim Gary, who brought the allegations to the department after hearing about them from skills coach Paul Vincent, said Quenneville “seemed angry and was concerned about disrupting the team’s chemistry,” according to the report. Bowman told investigators that Quenneville “said it was hard for the team to get to where they are now, and they couldn’t handle this issue right now.”

The accusations remained in the room, and Aldrich was allowed to continue as a video coach. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup and he received the trophy. Quenneville gave him a positive job evaluation.

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Three years later, Aldrich was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Michigan.

After the report came out, more than 11 years after the meeting in which the allegations were presented to the board, the Blackhawks immediately fired Bowman and McIsaac, and Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers within days. Quenneville is the second-winningest coach in NHL history and can now resume his pursuit of Scotty Bowman’s all-time wins record. He needs 276 more wins to surpass Scotty Bowman’s 1,244. Scotty Bowman is Stan Bowman’s father.

Both Quenneville and Stan Bowman have been actively seeking reappointments. Bowman was a candidate for the general manager position last summer, and in his only public comments, Quenneville told the Cam & Strike Podcast in April that he felt he deserved a second chance.

“I made a mistake in 2010 and I take responsibility,” Quenneville said on the podcast. “At the same time, I believe there is a place for me in the game.”

According to multiple sources and a league statement, both Quenneville and Bowman have been quietly working to reclaim their status in the NHL. Both have spoken with Beach, as well as other forces for positive change in the NHL, such as Respect Group founder Sheldon Kennedy and LGBTQ+ activist Brooke McGillis.

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The NHL announced on Monday, a national holiday in Canada and the first day of free agency, that the three men had done enough to return to the league.

“While it is clear that at the time their reactions were unacceptable, each of these three individuals has acknowledged this and has used their time away from the game to engage in activities that not only demonstrate sincere remorse for what occurred, but also demonstrate a greater awareness of the responsibilities that all NHL personnel have, especially those in leadership positions,” according to an NHL press release.

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“Furthermore, each of them has made great strides in self-improvement through participation in countless programs, many of which focused on the need to respond in effective and meaningful ways to address alleged acts of abuse.”

(Photo of Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman in 2015: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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