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Describing him as “a minor player” who had “limited responsibilities,” NHL President Gary tried to explain Monday why Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had escaped punishment for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks sex abuse scandal of 2011 that rocked hockey. world last week.

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At the same time, Bettman also urged people, be it management, coaches or players, not to be shy and speak up to ensure that what happened to Kyle Beach more than a decade ago does not go unnoticed again.

Confused? Well, you should be.

Last week, the NHL expelled then-general manager Stan Bowman and then-head coach Joel Quenneville from the league for not doing enough when he was told that video coach Brad Aldrich had been sexually involved with one of the team’s players. . But the league refrained from imposing the same sentence on Cheveldayoff, so it sounded like a technicality.

“It wasn’t about talking. It’s not a question of values, ”Bettman said of Cheveldayoff. “You can’t talk and focus on values ​​or things that you don’t know. He did not know and did not have access to the information. What he did know led him to believe that he was handling himself properly. ”
This is what we know:

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Cheveldayoff was in the same May 13 meeting as Bowman and Quenneville when he was told that video coach Brad Aldrich had allegedly sexually abused Beach during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. Cheveldayoff was led to believe his superiors were driving. the case. But for three weeks, he apparently didn’t question why Aldrich was still employed as a coach and never bothered to question Beach about what had happened.

From the way Bettman made it sound, Cheveldayoff was a fly on the wall who was never supposed to hear or know anything in the first place. Once he found out, he kept his mouth shut as the Blackhawks focused on winning a championship.

“When they were doing the research, the only person who put Kevin in the room for the May 13 meeting was Kevin,” Bettman said. “Everyone else forgot or didn’t even realize that he was there. He was with the Blackhawks for nine months. He was the deputy general manager with fairly limited responsibilities.

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“This was not something for which he not only had no responsibility, but based on what was available to him in his lesser relative position at the time, he had no reason to believe that anything other than the right thing was happening.”

That is not an excuse. After all, we’re talking about someone who was the team’s assistant general manager, not a janitor who accidentally walked into a closed-door meeting and heard something that wasn’t meant for his ears. There was a reason Cheveldayoff was at that meeting.

And while it might not have been your direct responsibility to investigate the abuse allegations, as an assistant general manager, heck, as a parent, and as a human being, you should have done more than you did.

Cheveldayoff should not have assumed that Bowman or President John McDonough had properly handled the situation, when neither of them had. I shouldn’t have assumed anything. More importantly, he shouldn’t have let 11 years go by without mentioning anything to anyone.

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And knowing this, Bettman shouldn’t have let Cheveldayoff off the hook while at the same time punishing Bowman and Quenneville for similar offenses.

“I think the answer is that those who should have separated from the game have separated from the game,” Bettman said. “Kevin’s main duty at the time was cap and scouting. He wasn’t having that level of interaction. Remember, your boss and your boss’s boss, he believed they were looking into it and taking care of it. He had no basis for knowing what the conclusion was. And three weeks later he was informed that Aldrich would be leaving the organization. I didn’t know on what basis or anything else. “

“It wasn’t within his purview of authority … what was happening was beyond anything in his world that he could deal with.”

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Cheveldayoff was supposed to speak to reporters Monday, but the press conference was delayed because Jets owner Mark Chipman suffers from vertigo and was unable to attend. Based on how Bettman threw together the set of facts, he wasn’t the only one who felt dizzy.

Bettman said he was “horrified” and “sorry” that Beach had to go through this. When asked what would have happened if he had known about this at the time it happened, he said: “If I had known about this in 2011, everything would have been handled differently.”

Seriously? Last December, when the Blackhawks tipped off the NHL of potential impending civil litigation, the league sat down and decided not to take action. The reason was that the General Counsel for the Blackhawks told the league that the lawsuit was unfounded. Months later, we now know the truth.

So while the sport may seem safer now that Bowman and Quenneville are not working in the NHL, based on how Beach’s system failed 11 years ago, and how Cheveldayoff was able to escape without even getting hit on the wrist, there is no nothing to believe about it. it cannot happen again.

“We are going to have to be judged as we move forward,” Bettman said.

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