An unnamed player from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team has filed a lawsuit alleging the organization ignored accusations that he and an unidentified teammate were sexually assaulted by a member of the coaching staff.
The suit — filed last week in Cook Circuit Court, according to WBEZ Chicago – alleges that former video coach Brad Aldrich “turned on porn and began to masturbate in front of” the player without his consent in May 2010.
The player also claimed the coach sent him “inappropriate text messages” and threatened him “physically, financially and emotionally” if he “did not engage in sexual activity,” WBEZ reported.
According to the report, Aldrich, now 38, was convicted in 2013 of an unrelated fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student in Michigan and now is a registered sex offender in that state.
The lawsuit claims that the player reported the alleged incident with Aldrich to James F. Gary, the team’s mental skills coach, but Gary “convinced [the] plaintiff that the sexual assault was his fault.”
Susan Loggans, a lawyer for the plaintiff, said her client also reported the alleged incident to the NHL Players’ Association, but “nothing happened.”
“This entire man’s life has been destroyed,” Loggans told WBEZ. “He was not able to function within the NHL context and…this has really ruined his professional career. These professional athletes have to function at the top of their game at all times in order to be competitive, and these things are really debilitating.”
Loggans said her client is seeking damages from the team in excess of $150,000.
Blackhawks vice president of communications Adam Rogowin said the lawsuit “lacked merit” in a statement to WBEZ.
“The Chicago Blackhawks take the allegations asserted by a former player very seriously. Based on our investigation, we believe the allegations against the organization lack merit and we are confident the team will be absolved of any wrongdoing,” he said. “As this is a pending litigation matter, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”