Joel Quenneville has resigned from the Florida Panthers after being linked to gross mishandling of sexual assault accusations against Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 while Quenneville was head coach there.
An investigation by law firm Jenner and Block revealed that the Blackhawks kept Aldritch on staff, and did not report the accusation to the police, allowing him to freely interact with the players and younger staff throughout their playoff run, in response to pushback from Quenneville and other coaches. Following the release of the investigation’s report, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman scheduled meetings with Quenneville and with former Asst GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, the two coaches implicated in the handling of the incident who remained in the NHL after Stan Bowman and Al Macissac were forced out of the Blackhawks organization.
Following Thursday’s 2pm meeting, which also included Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and the CEO and the GM of the Panthers, Quenneville resigned, with the agreement of Bettman and the Panthers. The NHL released a statement from Bettman:
Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the resignation of Joel Quenneville. pic.twitter.com/1KjdI2SKOL
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 29, 2021
You may hve observed that the statement included the name of the Blackhawks prospect who filed the original complaint back in 2010. It should be noted that Bettman wasn’t outing him, as the player had already revealed his identity on Wednesday.
Quenneville’s statement was not particularly convincing
Statement from Joel Quenneville: pic.twitter.com/4FB4CZ2gyw
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 29, 2021
He had incorrectly (and almost certainly dishonestly) claimed in July that he had just learned of the issue. Readers may have noted that Quenneville and the Panthers seemed to feel that it was appropriate for him to be behind the bench during the Bruins game on Wednesday.
Allowing Quenneville to resign is a mere slap on the wrist, however Commissioner Bettman said that he would have to approve any future attempt by Quenneville to accept another job within the league before he could come back.
The Panthers announcement of an interim head coach will be forthcoming. NHL insiders have been suggesting that it will be Andrew Brunette.