Joel Quenneville out as Panthers coach in Blackhawks investigation aftermathBen Popeon October 29, 2021 at 2:01 am

Joel Quenneville resigned as the Panthers’ coach Thursday. | AP Photos

“My former team, the Blackhawks, failed Kyle [Beach], and I own my share of that,” Quenneville said in a statement.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Joel Quenneville’s tenure as Panthers coach ended Thursday, three days after an investigation found the former Blackhawks coach was culpable in the team’s 2010 sexual assault scandal.

Quenneville met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York on Thursday. Hours later, he finally resigned from his post with “deep regret and contrition,” he said in a statement.

In a now-infamous May 2010 meeting of Hawks leadership, Quenneville joined then-president John McDonough in lobbying against taking immediate action regarding former Hawks video coach Brad Aldrich for alleged assault of former Hawks player Kyle Beach, ex-Hawks GM Stan Bowman told Jenner & Block investigators.

“I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered,” Quenneville said in his Thursday statement. “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.”

On Wednesday, Beach had added to the pressure against Quenneville, saying he witnessed meetings about the assault in Quenneville’s office and that there’s “absolutely no way that he can deny knowing it.”

Just a few days ago, Quenneville’s resignation would’ve been inconceivable. The second-winningest coach in NHL history had the up-and-coming Panthers off to a perfect 7-0-0 start this season. Now, all of that is finished and tarnished.

Andrew Brunette, a longtime NHL forward who retired in 2012 after spending his final season with the Hawks, will take over as Panthers interim coach, TSN reported.

Meanwhile, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff — a former Hawks assistant GM who was found to have also been in that 2010 cover-up meeting — moved up his scheduled meeting with Bettman to Friday, TSN reported.

Beach: Hawks trying to ‘destroy’ lawsuit

In a new statement Thursday, Beach thanked the hockey community for its “outpouring of endless love and support” this week.

But Beach also said his “battle is really just beginning,” alleging the Hawks “continue to attempt to destroy my case in court.”

The Hawks did file a support to their motion to dismiss Beach’s lawsuit Tuesday. But they said Wednesday that was done only to meet an unfortunately timed, court-mandated deadline and that they do intend to settle the case, with initial talks scheduled with Beach’s lawyer next week.

The legal proceedings have been lengthy and convoluted all summer, so it may take weeks to determine each side’s true intentions moving forward.

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