Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville resigned Thursday, days after he and others were named in an independent investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks’ mishandling of a 2010 sexual assault allegation.
Quenneville was head coach of the Blackhawks when a player said he was sexually assaulted by then-video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010.
The investigation, made public Tuesday, found that Blackhawks management did not want to take any immediate action against Aldrich because the team was in the midst of a playoff run, which ended with the club winning the Stanley Cup.
Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in NHL history, resigned from the Panthers after a meeting Thursday with the league commissioner, the Panthers and the league said.
“Joel made the decision to resign and the Florida Panthers accepted that resignation,” Panthers President and CEO Matt Caldwell said in a statement.
Quenneville is the most recent person named in the report to leave their position.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman announced Tuesday that he was stepping aside, and NBC Chicago reported that Al MacIsaac, the team’s senior vice president of hockey operations, was relieved of his duties.
Quenneville in a statement to Toronto-based sports network TSN announced his resignation “with deep regret and contrition.”
“I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered. My former team. the Blackhawks, failed Kyle, and I own my share of that,” Quenneville said. “I want to reflect on how all of this happened and take the time to educate myself on ensuring hockey spaces are safe for everyone.”
Beach had been brought up from the minor leagues as a backup during the Blackhawk’s 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs when Aldrich allegedly sexually assaulted him, according to the report.
He informed the team, but senior Blackhawks staff did not take immediate overt action against Aldrich, according to the report.
“No one should ever have to endure what Kyle Beach experienced during, and long after, his time in Chicago. Quite simply, he was failed,” Caldwell said. “We praise his bravery and courage in coming forward.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that he admired Beach’s courage for coming forward, adding that he was “appalled” by the way his initial claim was handled. He apologized “for all he has endured,” in a statement tweeted by the league.
Aldrich did not return messages from NBC News seeking comment earlier Thursday, and his attorney declined to comment. According to the report, Aldrich did not deny that a sexual encounter with the player occurred, but he contended that it was consensual.
Quenneville joined the Panthers as head coach in 2019 after a 10-year tenure as head coach of the Blackhawks during which the team won three Stanley Cup championships. He was fired after the team failed to make the playoffs in 2018 and after a series of losses.
Andrew Brunette, an assistant coach, has been hired as Panthers interim coach, The Associated Press reported.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.