Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz wrote a letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame asking for the name of former video coach Brad Aldrich to be removed from the Stanley Cup.
In the letter, obtained by ESPN, Wirtz asks the Hall to “consider x-ing out” Aldrich’s name because “while nothing can undo what he did, leaving his name on the most prestigious trophy in sports seems wrong.”
Wirtz wrote that “out of respect to each and every player who sacrificed to earn their place in history,” the Blackhawks would like the name removed, as it is the franchise’s “moral belief” that a convicted sex offender does not belong on the Stanley Cup.
The Hockey Hall of Fame issued a statement later Friday saying HHOF chairman Lanny McDonald, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly agreed that the request “is appropriate” and that they will have further discussions with Stanley Cup trustees as to how to best make that happen.
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Aldrich, who was with the Blackhawks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, sexually assaulted former player Kyle Beach during that run, according to an investigative report released by the team this week. The report, which looked into the organization’s mishandling of the case, found that senior leaders on the Blackhawks did not immediately act when they learned of the allegations and allowed Aldrich to resign instead of partaking in an investigation.
Three years later, Aldrich was convicted in Michigan of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 16-year-old.
The scandal has had far-reaching fallout. Stan Bowman resigned from his post as Blackhawks general manager and president of hockey operations, while Joel Quenneville, Chicago’s coach in 2010, resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
“Names have been engraved and then changed for years,” Wirtz wrote in the letter addressed to McDonald. “Taking a stand on the unforgivable behavior of Aldrich should include erasing his name from the Cup.”
In the letter to McDonald, Wirtz cites precedent of removing names from the Stanley Cup stemming from a case involving former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington.
“The name ‘Basil Pocklington’ is stamped over on the 1983-84 Stanley Cup,” Wirtz wrote. “The owner of the Oilers, as you are aware, put his father’s name onto the trophy list, even though his father had nothing to do with the team or its victory. The NHL demanded the name be notably X’d out. That decision, among others, reflects the Cup’s storied history of engraving mistakes and errors that have ended up enshrined in silver, or been corrected after the fact.”
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