Former Quebec Nordiques CEO Marcel Aubut has stepped down as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee and chairman of the Canadian Olympic Foundation amid a sexual harassment investigation.
“Mr. Marcel Aubut has learned of allegations concerning remarks he allegedly made to a colleague,” Aubut said in a statement. “He has offered his unconditional support to those responsible for investigating the remarks attributed to him and setting the record straight. This is a normal process that should be completed by mid-October.”
Although Aubut has been involved in the Quebec City bid to get an NHL expansion franchise as an unofficial advisor in the past, that is no longer the case, said a source close to Aubut.
At one time, Aubut was an influential player at the NHL in his capacity with the Nordiques. He has had a part in virtually every aspect of the organization’s history, from ushering the team in from the World Hockey Association to the NHL to the high-profile defection of the Stastny brothers to the Eric Lindros trade that landed Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg and set the organization on the road to the Stanley Cup championship it won as the Colorado Avalanche.
Aubut also engineered the sale of the Nordiques to a group in Denver in 1995, one year before it won its first Stanley Cup championship.
Aubut had also championed the notion of expansion for Quebec City, meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in 2009 to apprise him of plans for a new arena, the Centre Videotron that opened this season. He has also publicly put his support behind the building of the arena, saying that with salary cap, Quebec City would be able to support a team. It’s believed Aubut’s influence was key to the $400 million arena being built with taxpayer money.
The building is a key piece of the bid for an expansion team, which is being spearheaded by Quebecor, a company that owns a subsidiary that publishes The Hockey News.
The COC received a complaint last Friday about Aubut and has retained Francois Rolland, former Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, to head an independent investigation. Aubut, reportedly asked to step away from his duties for the duration of the investigation.