Quenneville will coach Panthers vs. Bruins on Wednesday, meet with commissioner Thursday

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Joel Quenneville will be behind the bench for the Florida Panthers on Wednesday when they host the Boston Bruins, even after an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks revealed the coach was in at least one 2010 meeting to discuss sexual assault allegations made by a former player against a then-Blackhawks video coach.

Quenneville said he will meet with commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday in New York and said “it was addressed” with the team before its morning skate Wednesday in Sunrise.

“I look forward to continuing to contribute to the process,” Quenneville said. “I won’t comment any further until the appropriate time after I meet with the commissioner.”

As fallout from the external investigation and a report published Tuesday by Chicago law firm Jenner & Block, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman stepped down and Chicago senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac is no longer part of the organization. Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said no one from Chicago’s management team in 2010 will remain with the organization moving forward.

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Quenneville was coach of the Blackhawks at the time. Bettman said Tuesday in a statement he plans to “arrange personal meetings in the near future” with Quenneville and Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was also in Chicago at the time and took part in the same reported meeting to discuss an allegation made by an unnamed player against Brad Aldrich.

The decision made in the meeting, the report said, was “that Hockey Operations personnel should devote their exclusive attention to on-ice matters heading into the Stanley Cup Final, and that other appropriate Club personnel within the organization would take responsibility for ‘handling’ the Aldrich situation.” Aldrich stayed on through the rest of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs and even took part in the Blackhawks’ championship celebration before quietly stepping down when the organization gave him the decision to either resign or face an internal investigation.

“Accounts of the meeting vary significantly,” the report added.

The findings of the report also contradict a statement Quenneville made to the Associated Press in the summer.

“I first learned of these allegations through the media earlier this summer,” Quenneville told the AP in July. “I have contacted the Blackhawks organization to let them know I will support and participate in the independent review.”

Quenneville said he stood by the statement, but declined any further comment.

Chicago fired Quenneville in 2018 and the Panthers hired him to a six-year deal in 2019. He’s now in his third year as coach in Florida, led the Panthers to their best regular season ever last year and now has Florida (6-0-0) off to its best start in franchise history. He led Florida’s morning skate Wednesday at FLA Live Arena and will continue to coach as the situation develops. The Panthers declined to comment on the report Tuesday, referring to the upcoming meeting between Quenneville and Bettman.