On Thursday, Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville announced his resignation as head coach as a result of an ongoing investigation of a sexual assault case that stems from his time as the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.
On Wednesday, a former prospect for the Blackhawks, Kyle Beach, released a video recounting an incident that happened during Quenneville’s coaching tenure.
Beach claims he was sexually assaulted by Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. Reports suggest that the Blackhawks knew of the incident but remained silent on the issue so as not to derail the team from their postseason run. The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.
The allegations were first filed in anonymity on Tuesday, but then Beach released his confessional on Wednesday and identified himself as the John Doe behind the accusations.
Quenneville scheduled to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss his future as Panthers coach. Hours after the conversation, Quenneville released a statement, declaring his three-season run with the Florida Panthers officially over.
Joel Quenneville’s resignation reads:
“With deep regret and contrition, I announce my resignation as head coach of the Florida Panthers. 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. 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.”
“Following a meeting with Mr. Quenneville that took place this afternoon in my office, all parties agreed that it was no longer appropriate that he continue to serve as Florida’s head coach,” said commissioner Bettman on Thursday. “We thank the Panthers’ organization for working with us to ensure that a thorough process was followed.”
The coach claims that the incident reached the attention of executives in Chicago but denies that he was ever made aware of the situation. Beach alleges that Quenneville knew but did nothing.
Per the Chicago Tribune, players in Florida are now looking beyond Quenneville when asked about his departure and role in the incident.
Quenneville spent 11 years with Chicago (2008-2019) and has the second most wins of any coach in NHL history. He led the Panthers to an undefeated record (7-0-0) to start the 2021-22 season. His remaining deal with Florida leaves three years and $15 million in salary hanging in the balance.
Former player, assistant coach and executive Andrew Brunette will be the Panthers’ interim coach and is set to coach his first game Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela