After being implicated in the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault scandal, Joel Quenneville has resigned as the head coach of the Florida Panthers. Quenneville met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday and then tendered his resignation, which the Panthers accepted.
Quenneville released this statement on his decision to leave the Panthers:
Statement from Joel Quenneville: pic.twitter.com/4FB4CZ2gyw
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 29, 2021
Bettman released a statement as well, noting that Quenneville will need permission from him to return to the NHL:
Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the resignation of Joel Quenneville. pic.twitter.com/1KjdI2SKOL
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 29, 2021
This decision comes after an investigation showed that Quenneville — then the head coach in Chicago — was among Blackhawks senior leaders who failed to act after Kyle Beach came forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against former video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. Chicago was in the midst of a Stanley Cup run, and Blackhawks brass didn’t want to cause any outside distractions to disrupt the push for a championship.
The investigation revealed a meeting involving Quenneville and a number of other top Blackhawks leaders in which this outlook was shared. The meeting took place right after Chicago swept the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
Via Sporting News:
Bowman recalled that during the meeting, McDonough and Quenneville made comments about the challenge of getting to the Stanley Cup Finals and a desire to focus on the team and the playoffs.
After learning of the incident, Quenneville shook his head and said that it was hard for the team to get to where they were, and they could not deal with this issue now.
The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup and Aldrich was allowed to enjoy celebrations with the team before ultimately resigning after former Blackhawks president John McDonough finally went to human resources with the allegations. But before the resignation, Aldrich allegedly sexually assaulted a Blackhawks intern in the wake of the Stanley Cup victory.
Given all the information made public in the report, Quenneville had no other choice but to resign from his post as Panthers head coach. He had previously stated that he was unaware of the allegations at the time, which turned out to be a lie, with Beach also noting that there was no way he couldn’t have known about it.
Andrew Brunette will now be the interim coach for a Panthers team that has started the season 7-0-0 and has designs of winning the Stanley Cup.