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A former Chicago Blackhawks player has come out publicly as the man who filed a complaint against the hockey team over how the organization mismanaged its allegations of sexual assault.
In a Wednesday night TV interview, Kyle Beach was revealed to be the previously anonymous John Doe who filed a lawsuit in May against the team. Beach allegedly complained to team managers in 2010 that video coach Brad Aldrich had sexually assaulted him.
Senior Blackhawks management ignored his complaints until the team won the Stanley Cup that season.
On Tuesday, an independent investigation confirmed Beach’s claims. After the 107-page report was released, the team ousted two senior officials who were there at the time of the Beach assault: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and senior hockey operations manager Al MacIsaac.
Beach, who is now a professional hockey player in Germany, said during the interview with TSN that he felt justified by the report.
“It was no longer my word against everyone,” he said.
Independent investigation backs Beach’s claims
In late June 2021, law firm Jenner & Block was hired by the Blackhawks to conduct an independent investigation into Beach’s allegations in his trial. The report explains how shortly after joining the team 10 years ago, Beach was assaulted.
In 2010, Beach, who was 20, joined the Blackhawks as “Black Ace,” a potential player who can replace a regular team member in the event of injury, suspension or other reasons. The Blackhawks were in the middle of the NHL playoffs at the time.
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Aldrich, who was 27 at the time, was the team’s video coach. He invited Beach to his apartment during the second week of May, offering dinner and drinks. Beach said that Aldrich, while threatening his place on the team, sexually assaulted him that night.
“To be honest, I was mostly scared. I was scared. My career was in jeopardy. I felt lonely and dark,” he said of the days after his attack.
Beach then reported the assault to the rest of the team.
Mental skills trainer and team advisor Jim Gary shared Beach’s allegations with other Blackhawks executives including then-president John McDonough, then executive vice-president Jay Blunk , and then assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and then head coach Joel Quenneville.
The front office got together and decided to “avoid the bad publicity” as the team neared the playoffs. Team leaders did not make the allegations public or remove Aldrich from the team until long after the team won the Stanley Cup.
Aldrich continued to assault others, report says
After the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the team still allowed Aldrich to stay on the team and celebrate the victory.
Beach said he saw his attacker celebrating with the team: “It made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like he was right and that I ‘was wrong. “
According to investigators’ report, Aldrich even made a sexual advance to a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern during the team events.
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It wasn’t until later in June that the Blackhawks’ director of human resources met Aldrich and offered him the option of investigating what had happened with Beach or resigning.
Aldrich resigned, but received severance pay and a playoff bonus, and continued to earn a salary for several months. He was allowed to bring the Stanley Cup for a day to his hometown, his name was engraved on the trophy, he received a championship ring, and he attended a Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony.
He then worked with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami in Ohio and Houghton High School in Houghton, Michigan. In Houghton, Aldrich was arrested and pleaded guilty to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor in 2013.
Beach said Aldrich’s arrest for the Michigan incident gave him the power to come forward.
Former team officials have also moved on to other teams. Quenneville is the coach of the Florida Panthers and Cheveldayoff is the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets. The pair are scheduled to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about the investigation’s findings.
The beach looks to the future
After Beach’s interview, the Blackhawks issued a statement apologizing for their inability to react quickly to his aggression.
The team said: “It was inexcusable for the leadership of the Blackhawks organization to delay taking action regarding the reported sexual misconduct. No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players and staff. against predatory behavior. “
On Twitter, self-proclaimed fans and other users strongly criticized the team for their actions with Beach and for their statement.
According to journalist Rick Westhead who interviewed Beach on Wednesday, attorneys for the Blackhawks have asked a court to dismiss the lawsuits of Beach and an alleged unidentified victim of Aldrich. This was reportedly done to discuss a settlement for the two men.
For now, Beach is looking to the future. He said he would like to turn his story into an opportunity to help other potential victims.
“I know I’m not the only one, male or female. And I buried this for 10 years, 11 years. And it destroyed me from within,” he said. “And I want everyone in the sports world and in the world to know that you are not alone. That if these things happen to you, you have to talk about it.”