(Reuters) – Kyle Beach said on Wednesday he is the player who raised sexual assault allegations against a Chicago Blackhawks coach in 2010, following the release of a report into the incident by the National Hockey League. Beach was referred to as “John Doe” in the report released on Tuesday, which found the Blackhawks had […]
NHL-Beach says he is ‘John Doe’ in Blackhawks sexual assault investigation
(Reuters) – Kyle Beach said on Wednesday he is the player who raised sexual assault allegations against a Chicago Blackhawks coach in 2010, following the release of a report into the incident by the National Hockey League.
Beach was referred to as “John Doe” in the report released on Tuesday, which found the Blackhawks had failed to act on his allegations that video coach Brad Aldrich had sexually assaulted the then 20-year-old during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.
In the report, Aldrich stated that the encounter was entirely consensual.
The investigation, carried out by former U.S. attorney Reid Schar, found that then Blackhawks President John McDonough was aware of the allegations and later said he did not want any negative publicity during the Stanley Cup Finals that year.
The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“Just a great feeling of relief, vindication,” Beach told Canada’s all sport network TSN about the release of the report.
“It was no longer my word against everybody else’s.”
Beach, now 31 and playing professionally in Germany, said he was let down by the NHL and wanted Commissioner Gary Bettman to take the report’s findings seriously.
“They continue to try and protect their name over the health and the well-being of the people that put their lives on the line every day to make the NHL what it is,” he said.
“I hope through and through that Gary Bettman takes this seriously.”
In a statement issued after Beach’s comments, the Blackhawks praised the former first-round draft pick for his courage and apologised for the organization’s failure to respond.
“No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players and staff from predatory behaviour,” the team said.
Following the report, Stan Bowman stepped down as general manager of the Blackhawks as well as the U.S. team at the Beijing Olympics. The Blackhawks’ senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac also left his position.
Then Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who is now coach of the Florida Panthers, is to meet with NHL Commissioner Bettman in New York on Thursday, the club said.
Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was assistant general manager with Chicago at the time and is now general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, would meet with the commissioner on Monday, CBC News reported.
The National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) issued a statement late on Wednesday saying they had also let Beach down by failing to take action after the player reported the incident to association doctors.
“Kyle Beach has been through a horrific experience and has shown true courage in telling his story,” said NHLPA executive director Don Fehr.
“There is no doubt that the system failed to support him in his time of need, and we are part of that system.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford)