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Joel Quenneville resigns as Florida Panthers Coach in wake of Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse case

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

On Thursday, Florida Panthers head coach, Joel Quenneville, announced his resignation as coach, following a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about his involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse case. This came just a day after former Blackhawks player Kyle Peach came forward in filing a lawsuit against the team for mishandling his sexual assault allegations in 2010. The suit led the Blackhawks to commission an investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block, which looked into the allegations that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted and harassed Beach during the team's 2010 Stanley Cup run.

Quenneville expressed his sorrow for Peach by stating, "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."

Quenneville was in his third year as head coach of the Panthers, who are off to a 7-0-0 start. He leaves with two years left on his deal with more than $15 million left on his contract. Commissioner Bettman said in a statement that the NHL agrees with Quenneville’s decision to resign by stating, "Following a meeting with Mr. Quenneville that took place this afternoon in my office, all parties agreed that it was no longer appropriate that he continue to serve as Florida's head coach. We thank the Panthers' organization for working with us to ensure that a thorough process was followed.”

The investigation revealed Quenneville was aware of the situation and took part in at least one meeting regarding the allegations in the 2010 postseason, despite him claiming he just learned of the allegations this past summer “through the media.” Quenneville now joins Bowman and Blackhawks senior director of hockey administration, Al MacIsaac in stepping aside for their roles in the sexual abuse case. The Blackhawks were also fined $2 million.

Quenneville has the second-most coaching wins in NHL history, with a record of 969-572-150 with 77 ties in 25 years with the Blackhawks, Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and St.Louis Blues. He helped lead the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships, including in the 2009-10 season when Kyle Beach reported his sexual assault allegations to the Blackhawks.

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