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Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville meets with NHL over Chicago abuse case

Oct 27, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville watches from behind the bench during the first period between the Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville watches from behind the bench during the first period between the Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The job status of Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville was uncertain Thursday after he met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman over his response to an alleged sexual assault during his time with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Quenneville was the head coach in Chicago in 2010 when Kyle Beach maintains he was sexually assaulted by then-Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich.

A report on the Blackhawks’ internal investigation into the matter was released this week, resulting in general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac leaving the organization.

Bowman reportedly told investigators that Quenneville, when informed of Beach’s allegations in 2010, “shook his head and said that it was hard for the team to get to where they were (the playoffs) and they could not deal with this issue now.”

Beach told TSN on Wednesday, “I’ve witnessed meetings, right after I reported it to (former team mental skills coach) James Gary, that were held in Joel Quenneville’s office. There’s absolutely no way that he can deny knowing it and there’s absolutely no way that Stan Bowman would make up a quote like that, to somebody who served his organization and his team so well.”

According to ESPN, Panthers president Matt Caldwell and general manager Bill Zito joined Quenneville in the meeting with Bettman at the league offices in New York. TSN reported that options facing Quenneville include being fired, being asked to resign or getting suspended from his job.

Quenneville, 63, led the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Fired in Chicago during the 2018-19 season, he joined Florida for the 2019-20 campaign.

The Panthers are off to the best start in franchise history, 7-0-0, ahead of a Friday road game against the Detroit Red Wings.

–Field Level Media