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The Edge of Lori: November 1, 2021

NHL Noise

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 27: Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Toronto Maple Leafs center David Kampf (64) look on during a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 27, 2021 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Hockey eyes focused on Chicago this week. An independent investigation has been ongoing following allegations of a 2010 sexual assault of a former player and the subsequent cover-up by team management. The results of the investigation were made public on Tuesday.

Throughout the investigation, the victim was known as John Doe. On Wednesday, Kyle Beach came forward and identified himself in a courageous interview with Rick Westhead of TSN.

On May 7, 2021 a lawsuit was filed by Beach against the Chicago Blackhawks alleging he and a teammate had been sexually assaulted by video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 during their Stanley Cup run, and that the Blackhawks organization had not responded appropriately to deal with their disclosures.

Aldrich left the Blackhawks that summer and went on to work in high school and college hockey programs. He was convicted in 2013 of a sexual offence against a student and was subsequently sentenced to a jail term and probation. The student is also suing the Blackhawks alleging they provided positive references for Aldrich.

The investigation implicated several hockey executives, including some currently active in the NHL, for knowing about the incident and failing to investigate or report the matter. Stan Bowman, who was the GM at the time of the incident and until the conclusion of the investigation, stepped aside on Tuesday.

The NHL announced the Blackhawks were fined two million dollars for their inadequate response to the situation, a lesser consequence than that issued to the New Jersey Devils for cap circumvention in 2010. USA Hockey also announced that Bowman had stepped aside as the team’s GM for the 2022 Olympics.

The Blackhawks issued a statement on Wednesday, a fantastic display of tone-deafness. A tweet-brief apology was followed by a reminder of their commitment to win championships. One of the findings of the investigation was that the team delayed action on the victims’ disclosures to avoid distraction during the Cup run.

Kevin Cheveldayoff, AGM in Chicago at the time and the current GM of the Winnipeg Jets, and Coach Joel Quenneville who is the current head coach of the Florida Panthers, were also implicated. Both denied awareness of the incident earlier this year. Each was due to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Several members of that 2010 team remain with the Blackhawks, including Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The claim of Beach and other former players is that everyone in the locker room knew and he was the victim of homophobic slurs from teammates.

This story is not over.

In considerably lighter news, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are embroiled in a contest to see who can deliver the most agony to their fans this season.

The Habs opened their season with one win in seven games, having been outscored 25-11. We all knew they’d be clinging on by the skin of their teeth with the off-season changes and having to play a good chunk of the fall without Carey Price, Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron. But here we are with Halloween treats still in the cupboard and it feels like the season might already be over.

The Leafs are only slightly less ghastly. They opened the season with just three wins in their first eight games. Mitch Marner had not scored his first goal of the season as of press deadline, and as I wrote this Zach Hyman scored his sixth… in Edmonton.

In both cities, hockey is king, and the race is on to see who will move to shake up their team first.

CFL Catch-Up

Week 12 of 16 in the 2021 CFL season featured four games and the playoff picture is beginning to shape up.

On Friday the Montreal Alouettes beat the Toronto Argonauts 37-16, riding the wave of back-up quarterback Matthew Shiltz. The teams are now tied in points percentage in the East, but the crazy-ass tie-breaking rules in the CFL have the Als in first place with three-quarters of the season complete.

There were three games on Saturday. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats clobbered the Ottawa Redblacks to the tune of 32-3 to claim third place in the East. With the loss the Redblacks are eliminated from playoff contention. Otherwise, the Als, Argos and Ti-Cats are all neck and neck in the East.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers absolutely humiliated the BC Lions with a 45-0 win, scoring touchdowns on offence, defence and special teams. With their eighth straight win, the Bombers have clinched first place in the West and will advance to the division finals.

In Calgary, Cody Fajardo claimed his first career win against the Calgary Stampeders as the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Stamps 20-17. The win has the Roughriders in second place in the West, followed by the Stamps. The Lions are in fourth place and the Edmonton Elks are in the basement.

The Elks enjoyed a bye week.

Raptors Racket

The Toronto Raptors are off to a young team’s start. The young team improved to 2 games and 3 losses with a win against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Rookie Scottie Barnes has been impressing, including with his 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds against the Pacers.

Help is on the way. Pascal Siakam, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, and Yuta Watanabe, who has been out with a left calf strain, both practiced with the team on Tuesday.

Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreational softball player and coach, and new ukulele-ist. Originally from NL and now based in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat or debate, as long as it remains respectful. She posts game time thoughts on twitter as @lori10habs.

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