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AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks fired a longtime minor-league trainer in November after he was accused of sexual harassment.
The alleged harassment by Rockford IceHogs trainer D.J. Jones occurred in 2014, the Blackhawks said Sunday night in a statement. The allegations were reported to the team on Oct. 27, a day after it released a report by an outside law firm that found the organization mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player in 2010.
ESPN was the first to report on the accusations against Jones.
“Under our new leadership, we have made it crystal clear that nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our players and employees, and there is a zero-tolerance policy for any violation of our standards of conduct in our organization,” the Blackhawks said in their statement. “We have done a lot of work to ensure an environment where employees are encouraged to feel safe coming forward, even if it is about wrongdoing that occurred in the past.
“Recently, when allegations of sexual harassment in 2014 by D.J. Jones, the head athletic trainer for the Rockford IceHogs, were reported to the Blackhawks on October 27, 2021, we adhered to our new protocols and procedures, suspended Mr. Jones, conducted an in-depth investigation over five days and, following the conclusive results, terminated Mr. Jones on November 3, 2021.”
Jones was in his 16th season with the IceHogs of the American Hockey League. John Walter was promoted to head athletic trainer after Jones’ departure.
The Blackhawks’ announcement comes as the organization is working to rebuild its reputation after the October report by Jenner & Block detailed how senior leaders with the team largely ignored Kyle Beach’s allegations after he said he was assaulted by then-video coach Brad Aldrich just days before the team won its first Stanley Cup title since 1961.