MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida Panthers players and the team’s interim coach spoke out on Friday, just hours after head coach Joel Quenneville resigned following allegations, he failed to investigate a sexual abuse report while coaching the Chicago Blackhawks.
The team is in Detroit on Friday with interim coach Andrew Brunette, who got the job after Quenneville resigned. Quenneville was one of the central figures in a report released earlier this week that detailed how the Chicago Blackhawks failed to properly address sexual assault allegations made by former player Kyle Beach against video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. Quenneville was Chicago’s head coach at that time.
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During Friday’s practice, Brunette clarified that the Panthers’ on-ice problems are overshadowed by the bigger issue of Beach’s reported sexual assaults in 2010 and the ensuing cover-up that engulfed the sport after the details were released. the last days.
“It’s a very sad day for hockey, with Kyle Beach and everything he’s been through,” Brunette said. “You feel for him and what he had to face. It’s a sad day for our organization, it’s a sad day for our players, it’s a sad day for hockey. »
Brunette spent four seasons playing for Quenneville and has been an assistant in Florida since 2019.
The Panthers, believed by some to be the best team in hockey, are trying to figure out the past 48 hours.
“He’s a great guy and I’m sure he’ll be a great coach going forward,” Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. “It’s not easy for everyone, but we’ll get through it as a team.”
The Panthers didn’t say whether their intention was for Brunette to hold the position for a few days, a few weeks or a few months. Florida plays Boston on Saturday, then not again until Thursday’s home game against Washington.
“I’m day to day,” Brunette said.
The fallout from the report has been massive; Chicago general manager Stan Bowman resigned and Quenneville quit his job with Florida. But Winnipeg general manager Kevin Chevyldayoff — who also worked for the Blackhawks at the time — escaped punishment after meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday.
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Huberdeau said hockey should seem secondary given what Beach has been through.
“We’re all sorry for what happened, and that’s all that matters,” the Panthers forward said.
Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said he watched Beach’s interview with TSN after it aired Wednesday night and said it left him “extremely sad.” He was asked if, after watching it, his opinion of Quenneville had changed.
“I’m not sure how I feel right now,” Ekblad said.
The 48-year-old brunette spent four seasons playing for Quenneville. Three of those years were in Colorado and the last was in Chicago — the 2011-12 season, Brunette’s last as a player and one where he was a teammate at Beach’s training camp.
Brunette played a total of 16 seasons for six different franchises, including six in Minnesota. He returned to the Wild at the end of his playing days for seven years, holding several jobs during that time, including director of player personnel, assistant general manager, and assistant coach.
Quenneville — a three-time Cup-winning coach, all with Chicago — and the Panthers came calling in 2019, offering Brunette an assistant position. He’s been in Florida ever since, maybe hoping to be a head coach one day, never imagining that chance would come like this.
“I’m just trying to process,” Brunette said. “It was a whirlwind. I wish I could give you a better answer. I can’t explain to you. I understand the biggest problem here right now is Kyle.
Florida entered Friday hoping to become the fifth franchise and seventh team in NHL history to start a season with eight straight wins. Others who have: the Toronto Maple Leafs 1934-35 and 1993-94, the Buffalo Sabers 1975-76 and 2006-07, the Nashville Predators 2005-06 and the Montreal Canadiens 2015-16.
“It’s been a crazy few days with all the information and everything that’s happened,” Ekblad said. “We’re a team that’s a bit clueless at the moment.”
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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)