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Jets GM Cheveldayoff won't be disciplined by NHL in Blackhawks case

League cannot 'assign to him responsibility' for Chicago's actions or inactions, Commissioner Bettman says

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The NHL announced today that it will not impose discipline on Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff with respect to the 2010 sexual assault allegations against former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich.

Cheveldayoff, who met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York on Friday, was an assistant general manager for the Blackhawks at the time of the incident in which then-prospect Kyle Beach reported to the club that Aldrich had sexually assaulted him.

"While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with the same broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person," Commissioner Bettman said in a statement. "Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility for the Club's actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion."

Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks' assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations from 2009-11. The 51-year-old won the Stanley Cup with them in 2010 before being hired as Jets executive vice president and GM on June 8, 2011.

Joel Quenneville, who coached the Blackhawks for 11 seasons starting in 2008 and was in his third season as coach of the Florida Panthers, resigned as coach Thursday after meeting with Commissioner Bettman. 

After Reid Schar, a former federal prosecutor and partner at Jenner & Block LLP, released the findings of his firm's independent investigation into the allegations Tuesday, Commissioner Bettman announced he wanted to meet with Cheveldayoff and Quenneville.

According to Schar's findings, Cheveldayoff was among six individuals who met May 23, 2010, to discuss the alleged sexual assault, which occurred May 8 or 9, 2010. Also present to hear a report from mental skills coach and team counselor Jim Gary, who had spoken with Beach, were then-Blackhawks president John McDonough, then-senior vice president Jay Blunk, then-GM Stan Bowman, then-senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac and Quenneville.

The meeting took place within an hour of Chicago defeating the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final to advance to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

"First and most importantly, I want to express my support of and empathy for Kyle Beach and all he has had to endure since 2010," Cheveldayoff said in a statement. "He was incredibly brave coming forward to tell his story. We can all use his courage as an inspiration to do a better job of making hockey a safer space for anyone who wants to play the game.

"Further, I want to express my gratitude to the National Hockey League for the opportunity to meet with Commissioner Gary Bettman, in person, and directly share my role in and recollection of events while I was assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010."

Cheveldayoff and Quenneville were the only individuals who attended that meeting who still were working in the NHL after Bowman resigned and MacIsaac was let go by the Blackhawks on Tuesday. McDonough was fired by Chicago on April 27, 2020. Blunk and Gary left the Blackhawks this offseason.

Cheveldayoff had been the Jets executive vice president and general manager since the franchise relocated from Atlanta in 2011. The Jets have reached the NHL postseason five times, including advancing to the Western Conference Final in 2018, and are 4-2-1 this season.

"I'm relieved for Kevin and for his family, because I believe him in what he says and I believe in him," Jets coach Paul Maurice told Sportsnet on Friday.

Beach came forward as the player at the center of the investigation into the allegations against Aldrich and the Blackhawks. The No. 11 pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, Beach, now 31, never played in the NHL. He was 20 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

"It's been a … it's a big step for me, my process of recovery, as I process the events that happened and as I truly deal with the underlying issues that I have from them," Beach said. "For me, I wanted to come forward and put my name on this. To be honest, it's already out there. The details were pretty accurate in the report, and it's been figured out. More than that, I've been a survivor, I am a survivor. And I know I'm not alone."

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