Joel Quenneville resigned Thursday as head coach of the Florida Panthers after an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual abuse case revealed he had knowledge of the allegations when he was coach of the Blackhawks during the 2010 season.
An interim head coach announcement will be forthcoming, according to the team.
Former Blackhawks player Kyle Beach on Wednesday came forward as the “John Doe” who filed a lawsuit against the team for mishandling his sexual assault allegations. The suit led the Blackhawks to commission an investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block, which looked into allegations that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted and harassed Beach during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup run.
“With deep regret and contrition, I announce my resignation as head coach of the Florida Panthers,” Quenneville said in a statement, according to TSN. “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.”
The investigation, of which the results were released Tuesday, revealed that Quenneville was aware of the situation and took part in at least one meeting regarding the allegations during the 2010 postseason. Quenneville had previously said he learned of the allegations in the summer of 2021 “through the media.”
According to recollections from former Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman in the investigation report, Quenneville, after learning of the Aldrich allegations, “shook his head and said that it was hard for the team to get to where they were [the playoffs] and they could not deal with this issue now.”
Bowman on Tuesday resigned after the investigation was made public. The team also was fined $2 million.
Quenneville resigned with about three years and $15 million remaining on his contract with the Panthers.
“After the release of the Jenner & Block investigative report on Tuesday afternoon, we have continued to diligently review the information within that report, in addition to new information that has recently become available,” Panthers CEO Matt Caldwell said in a statement Thursday. “It should go without saying that the conduct described in that report is troubling and inexcusable. It stands in direct contrast to our values as an organization and what the Florida Panthers stand for.
“No one should ever have to endure what Kyle Beach experienced during, and long after, his time in Chicago. Quite simply, he was failed. We praise his bravery and courage in coming forward.”
Quenneville decided to resign after meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for about two hours in New York earlier Thursday while accompanied by Panthers team president Matt Caldwell and general manager Bill Zito.
In a statement, Bettman said the NHL agreed with Quenneville’s decision to resign and that “given the result there is no need for any further action by the NHL regarding Mr. Quenneville at this time.”
Bettman added that should Quenneville wish to return to the NHL in some capacity, he will “require a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”
At 7-0-0, the Panthers are off to their best start in the franchise’s 28-year history. They next play in Detroit on Friday.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan was used in this report.
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