The San Jose Sharks were a part of today’s Jenner & Block report.
Jenner & Block was hired by the Chicago Blackhawks in June 2021 to conduct an independent investigation into a former Blackhawks player’s allegations that then-Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich had sexually assaulted him in 2010. The legal firm also investigated allegations that the Blackhawks had covered up the incident.
The full Jenner & Block report is here — warning, it is graphic.
In short, the player who alleges he was assaulted — John Doe in the report — and Brad Aldrich agree that a sexual encounter took place between the two in May 2010. John Doe says the encounter was non-consensual, while Aldrich says the encounter was consensual. The report found that the upper management of the Blackhawks discussed John Doe’s allegations on May 23, 2010 — shortly after Chicago had eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals — and did nothing about it for three weeks.
In that time, Aldrich was allowed to continue to interact with John Doe, celebrate the team’s eventual Stanley Cup victory, and is alleged to have sexually harrassed a Blackhawks intern.
At the end of the playoffs, Aldrich was given the choice by the Blackhawks to resign or face an internal investigation. He resigned, but was still allowed to participate in that summer’s Stanley Cup celebrations, including having his day with the Cup in September 2010.
Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac, the only participants of that May 2010 meeting still with the Blackhawks, resigned today.
The San Jose Sharks have a limited but crucial role in the report.
Brad Aldrich is the son of long-time San Jose equipment manager Mike Aldrich, and the Sharks were instrumental in the Blackhawks’ hiring of Brad Aldrich in the summer of 2008.
“The General Manager for the Blackhawks at the time, Dale Tallon, received a message from an individual affiliated with the San Jose Sharks, another NHL team, recommending that Tallon look out for Aldrich’s resume,” the report stated. “Tallon recalled that after receiving the message from the Sharks, he received Aldrich’s resume. Other witnesses recalled that Tallon was friends with the General Manager of the Sharks and that Aldrich’s father was the Sharks’ equipment manager.”
Brad Aldrich was a San Jose Sharks video coach intern during the 2005-06 season. That was current Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s third year as GM.
San Jose Hockey Now has reached out to members of the 2005-06 San Jose Sharks organization, none who recall any wrongdoing on the 22-year-old’s part that season.
After 2005-06, the University of Notre Dame hired Aldrich to work in the video department of its hockey operations, where he was employed until the Blackhawks took him on.
There’s no indication that the San Jose Sharks were aware of any wrongdoing on Brad Aldrich’s part up to this point.
The San Jose Sharks aren’t mentioned again in the report, in connection to Brad Aldrich, until the end of his Blackhawks tenure.
It’s a disturbing connection, however.
On June 10, 2010, two weeks after the Blackhawks braintrust discussed John Doe’s allegations — and subsequently did nothing — a 22-year-old male Blackhawks intern says he shared a cab with Aldrich after a night out. The employee alleged, when the cab reached Aldrich’s apartment building, that Aldrich made an unwanted sexual advance, putting his hand on the employee’s crotch. This advance was rebuffed, and Aldrich went into his residence.
The next day, the intern questioned Aldrich about his behavior. Aldrich apologized and said that he was drunk. According to the Jenner & Block report, the “employee understood that Aldrich was coming out to him as gay. The employee recalled that he felt bad for Aldrich.”
The intern also added: “The employee also recalled that he did not want to say anything about Aldrich’s proposition to anyone, including to Blackhawks management, because the employee knew that Aldrich’s father worked for the San Jose Sharks. The employee wanted to ensure that Aldrich would serve as a reference for him for future employment in the hockey industry and did not want to risk Aldrich or Aldrich’s father being an issue for a future job.”
There’s no evidence that Mike or Brad Aldrich were ever an impediment to this individual’s future employment.
But it certainly speaks to the power dynamics at play in this gut-wrenching story.
San Jose Hockey Now has reached out to the San Jose Sharks, who have declined comment.
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