• Hyun-June Leonard Ro

Mike Babcock Accused of Racism for Traffic Incident with Akim Aliu in North York Yesterday

Nothing about the revelations made public from the Chicago Blackhawks organization on Tuesday should be a shock for anyone who follows the NHL. Disgusting? Yes. Horrifying? Absolutely. Shameful and pathetic? One hundred percent. Shocking? No, not if you’ve been paying any attention to hockey for any length of time.

On Tuesday, the Blackhawks shared the findings of law firm Jenner & Block’s independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made against former video coach Brad Aldrich during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010. Two lawsuits were filed against Aldrich that alleged that he sexually assaulted a former player in May 2010, received a positive reference letter from the organization upon his departure, then went on to sexually assault a high school player in 2013.

Due to the report, Chicago general manager Stan Bowman has stepped aside from his role, and has vacated his position as the GM of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. Other organizational members remaining from 2010 — including Al MacIsaac, senior vice president of hockey operations — have left the team as well. The NHL is also fining the Blackhawks organization $2 million “for the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” on the matter.

And it sucks! It really, truly does. Not just from a hockey fan perspective, but, first and foremost, for the countless victims of hockey culture who have had their lives irrevocably changed by the toxic cesspool that encompasses every part of this sport. The institution of hockey has failed these people and continues to do so with every passing day.

This is a sport — a game — after all. We watch people put knives on their feet and skate around on a slippery surface for our enjoyment. I, like many of you reading this, love hockey! But, it does not love us back — and never has.

Many other people have written and talked about what we as hockey fans and those of us in the media can do to supplant this culture of toxicity. Holding the people responsible accountable, speaking out against injustices, and lobbying for more oversight of those in charge is just the beginning for how we can start to bring about change.

And this Blackhawks scandal isn’t over by a long shot either. Specifically due to the investigation naming former Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville, who is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers, and former assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who is the Winnipeg Jets' GM, as two people in the know of the incident.

This has been, without a doubt, the biggest scandal the NHL has seen in its modern history. And we’ve seen many in recent years, from Mike Babcock’s alleged verbal abuse against former players to Bill Peters allegedly using racial slurs against Akim Aliu. Hockey culture has always been rotten to the core, and this incident is yet another reminder that this suffering and hate is what our favorite sport has been built upon.

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