Former Blackhawks Coach Resigns from Florida Panthers amid Kyle Beach Sexual Assault Case

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Joel Quenneville and Kyle Beach
Joel Quenneville and Kyle Beach

Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; City-Press via Getty Images

Joel Quenneville has resigned as head coach for the Florida Panthers due to his involvement in former Chicago Blackhawks star Kyle Beach's sexual assault case, according to the team.

Quenneville was the head coach for the Blackhawks in 2010 when Beach alleges he was sexually assaulted by the team's former video coordinator Brad Aldrich. In an investigation, Beach claims that Quenneville knew of his abuse but took no action.

On Thursday, the 63-year-old announced he was resigning from the Panthers in his third season with the team, according to a press release.

"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," he said in a statement. "My former team the Blackhawks failed Kyle and I own my share of that."

Quenneville added, "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."

RELATED: Former Blackhawks Star Kyle Beach Comes Forward as Player Who Made Sexual Assault Complaint

joel quenneville
joel quenneville

Assistant coach Andrew Brunette will take over as interim head coach for the Panthers, ESPN reports.

Quenneville's decision followed his meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Panthers General Manager Bill Zito, and Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell where he was urged to step down, a release states.

"We thank the Panthers' organization for working with us to ensure that a thorough process was followed. Given the result, there is no need for any further action by the NHL regarding Mr. Quenneville at this time," Bettman said in a statement. "However, should he wish to re-enter the League in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place."

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Caldwell added, "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."

Beach came forward on Wednesday as the John Doe who accused Aldrich of sexual assault in previous reports.

Eleven years ago, Beach had alleged to higher-up members of the Blackhawks' team that Aldrich sexually assaulted him, but his claims were ignored until after the team won the Stanley Cup later that season, according to the conclusions of an investigation that was commissioned by the Blackhawks and made public Tuesday.

Kyle Beach; Brad Aldrich
Kyle Beach; Brad Aldrich

Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images; Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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At the time, Beach explained the encounter with Aldrich to mental skills coach and team counselor Jim Gary, who brought Beach's allegations to other team leaders, including Quenneville. The investigators' report noted that some witnesses recalled discussion about the need to avoid bad publicity amid the ongoing playoffs.

Per the report, after winning the Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks' director of human resources met with Aldrich and offered for him to either resign or undergo an investigation into Beach's claims.

The former video coach chose to resign, though he still received severance and a playoff bonus, all while he continued to earn a salary for several months, the report states. Three years later, after a separate incident, Aldrich was arrested and pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor.

Kyle Beach
Kyle Beach

City-Press via Getty Images

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On Thursday, Beach told CBS Mornings in an emotional interview that he was ready to see the NHL take actions to protect its players.

"Whether it be with sexual assault or abuse in general or drugs or anything else, I don't know when it's going to be enough for the NHL to step in and say enough is enough and take the necessary actions to make a difference and protect the players that make the NHL what it is," Beach said.

Following the release of the report, General manager Stan Bowman and senior director of hockey operations Al MacIsaac also resigned, according to ESPN. Both were members of the Blackhawks at the time that Beach brought his allegations forward.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.
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If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.