ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes is reporting that Joel Quenneville will no longer be the head coach of the Florida Panthers. The news stems from the findings by an investigation regarding the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual abuse case that became public on Wednesday.
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) October 29, 2021
A short time after Weekes’ report, the team and Quenneville announced that Quenneville had resigned as Head Coach:
Statement from Joel Quenneville: pic.twitter.com/4FB4CZ2gyw
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 29, 2021
The Florida Panthers announced today that Head Coach Joel Quenneville has resigned from his role with the club.
An interim head coach announcement will be forthcoming.https://t.co/h6Bv3OVdFk
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 29, 2021
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement following the resignation, saying that after the meeting “all parties agreed that it was no longer appropriate” that Quenneville serve as the Panthers’ head coach.
Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the resignation of Joel Quenneville. pic.twitter.com/1KjdI2SKOL
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 29, 2021
The National Hockey League’s Coaches Association also released a statement iterating their understanding and support for the resignation as well as the decision is “one step in a long journey we take together…”:
Statement from the NHL Coaches’ Association: pic.twitter.com/dXBgDKz3Ql
— NHL Coaches’ Association (@NHLCoachesAssoc) October 29, 2021
Quenneville was the head coach of the Blackhawks when the reported sexual abuse by then-video coach Brad Aldrich took place. It has also been reported that Quenneville sat in on the management meeting held to discuss the initial reports. A meeting that resulted in little to no response or actions by the Blackhawks. The incident occurred in May 2010, during the Blackhawks’ run to the 2010 Stanley Cup.
The victim, former Blackhawks draft pick and then-prospect Kyle Beach, came forward as the player “John Doe” in the case, yesterday. According to the findings (which can be read in full HERE) by Jenner & Block, a law firm hired by the Blackhawks to conduct an independent investigation into the matter, a recollection by longtime Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman, who resigned from the team yesterday, alleged that:
“…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 report also described Quenneville’s interview for the investigation (note: the meeting described took place in then-Blackhawks’ Team President John McDonough’s office):
“During his interview, Quenneville generally recalled a meeting in
McDonough’s office after Game 4 of the San Jose series with members of the
Blackhawks’ senior management.439 Other participants in the meeting
recalled that Quenneville was not present for the first portion of the meeting
and was called upstairs to the Front Office to join the meeting after it had
Quenneville recalled others in the meeting stating that “an event
happened without saying what happened” and that “something may have
happened.”441 When interviewed, Quenneville stated that he believed that the
issue being discussed involved a coach doing something improper and that the
group was meeting to decide whether to “make it public.”442 Quenneville also
stated that he did not believe that John Doe’s name was referenced and, after
multiple interviews, Quenneville was unclear whether Aldrich’s name was
Quenneville also said when interviewed that he did not recall anyone saying it
was hard for the team to get where they were in the playoffs, but recalled that
his focus was on winning and this meeting was unexpected.444 He said that
there was no resolution of the situation at the meeting.445
Otherwise, Quenneville recalled nothing else regarding the meeting or the
events more broadly.”
It has been reported that Quenneville met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York this afternoon along with Panthers Team President Matt Caldwell and General Manager Bill Zito for about two hours, according to ESPN.
The Panthers are 7-0-0 — best record in hockey, best start in the Cats’ 28-year franchise history — entering Friday night’s game in Detroit. The goals differential is 31 to 13. Hopes for the club’s first Stanley Cup are rising, and real.
More to come.
By Jon Sorensen