Kyle Beach identified himself as one of Brad Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault victims on Wednesday, a day after the Blackhawks’ internal investigation was released.
Beach did so in an emotional interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead.
During the interview, Beach criticized the way the Blackhawks, NHL, and NHLPA handled the sexual assault allegations. That said, Beach views certain elements of the fallout from the investigation (such as Stan Bowman resigning as Blackhawks general manager) as steps “in the right direction … albeit too late.”
Beach also praised those who stood by him. Here are some of the key takeaways from Beach’s courageous interview with TSN.
Beach describes how Blackhawks, NHL, NHLPA reacted to allegations
Beach told Westhead that he experienced a feeling of “relief and vindication” after the Jenner & Block report released. To Beach, “it was no longer my word against everyone else’s.”
Despite Beach coming forward with sexual assault allegations regarding Aldrich, the former video coach remained employed with the Blackhawks for multiple weeks. Ultimately, Aldrich got a day with the Stanley Cup, and his name was engraved on the trophy.
” … I reported this and I was made aware that it made it all the way up the chain of command by ‘Doc’ (James) Gary and nothing happened. It was like his life was the same as the day before. Same every day,” Beach said. “And then when they won, to see [Aldrich] paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like, that I wasn’t important and … it made me feel like he was in the right and I was wrong. And that’s also what ‘Doc’ Gary told me, that it was my fault because I put myself in that situation …”
Beach believed that “everyone in that [Blackhawks] locker room” knew about the allegations toward Aldrich. In doing so, Beach followed up claims by former Blackhawks Nick Boynton and Brent Sopel. Beach said that comments were made in the locker room, on the ice, and around the arena.
[Stan Bowman resigned as Blackhawks GM following the report]
While Beach praised former Blackhawks (as well as staff members such as Paul Vincent and John Torchetti), he criticized how the team, NHL, and even NHLPA handled allegations.
- Beach viewed the Blackhawks’ initial response to the Aldrich sexual assault allegations as decribing his claims as “meritless.”
“To me, I took that as them saying to the world that I was a liar, that I was lying,” Beach said.
- He also believes the NHL “didn’t want anything to do with” an investigation, and that they “didn’t want to touch it.”
- Beach also criticized the way Don Fehr and the NHLPA handled the Aldrich sexual assault allegations. Beach alleges that the NHLPA passed on doing an investigation on multiple occasions.
” … I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after. I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr,” Beach said. “And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how that can be your leader. I don’t know how he can be in charge.”
The Blackhawks released the following statement after Beach’s interview aired.
A statement from the Chicago Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/x1XbMXDiyA
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 27, 2021
Comments on Bettman’s upcoming meetings with Quenneville, Cheveldayoff
In the Jenner & Block report, it’s noted that Stan Bowman claimed Joel Quenneville and John McDonough expressed a “desire to focus on the team and the playoffs” during a meeting about the allegations.
With that in mind, Beach criticized Quenneville’s handling of the allegations.
Beach said he couldn’t believe the implication that “trying to win a Stanley Cup was more important than [addressing] sexual assault.”
“As a human being, I cannot believe that, and I cannot accept that,” Beach said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Quenneville did not give much of a comment on the situation. Quenneville was behind the bench for the Panthers’ game against the Bruins. Kevin Cheveldayoff is still the Jets’ GM. Cheveldayoff provided the following statement on Tuesday:
The following is a statement from Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff regarding the results of the investigation released today: pic.twitter.com/sAp9pWWD2t
— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) October 26, 2021
Gary Bettman will meet with Quenneville on Thursday and Cheveldayoff on Monday. Beach said he hopes Bettman and the NHL take this seriously, and wants the conversations to go beyond Quenneville and Cheveldayoff.
[UPDATE: Following a Thursday meeting with Bettman, Joel Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Panthers. Andrew Brunette will take over on an interim basis.]
” … They continue to try and protect their name over the health and well-being of the people who put their lives on the line every day to make the NHL what it is,” Beach said. “I hope through and through that Gary Bettman takes this seriously and that he does his due diligence, that he talks to not only them, but Stan Bowman, John McDonough, and anybody else that has information to offer before he makes his decision. Because they already let me down, they wouldn’t investigate for me, so why would they now?”
To significant criticism, Joel Quenneville coached the Panthers during Wednesday’s win over the Bruins. Despite being behind the bench, Quenneville didn’t address the media. Instead, Panthers GM Bill Zito offered essentially no comment. Zito did acknowledge a planned Thursday meeting between Bettman and Quenneville, however.
Here is Bill Zito’s full statement on Joel Quenneville. Says Quenneville’s meeting with the commissioner is tomorrow at 2. pic.twitter.com/uqghLJu0eL
— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 28, 2021
What’s next for Kyle Beach
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Blackhawks filed new documents to back up the team’s motions to dismiss two lawsuits regarding Aldrich. That said, the Blackhawks indicated that they’ve scheduled settlement talks with Susan Loggans, who represents Beach and Aldrich’s other alleged victim.
In the meantime, Westhead shared word that Beach is “in a good place” after the video interview aired on TSN.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.