CHICAGO (TBEN) – The “John Doe” who accused former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich of sexual abuse in 2010 identified himself on Wednesday as former Blackhawks minor league player Kyle Beach.
Beach spoke with Rick Westhead on TSN SportsCentre Canada.
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On Tuesday, Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman announced he had “stepped down,” after an independent investigation determined he and other team leaders had failed. failed to promptly investigate the former player’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a former video coach in 2010.
“He and we ultimately accept that, in his first year as CEO, he made a mistake, alongside our other senior executives at the time, and failed to take adequate action in 2010,” Team CEO Danny Wirtz announced Tuesday afternoon.
Bowman also resigned Tuesday from his post as general manager of the 2022 US Olympic ice hockey team. Senior vice president Al MacIsaac is also on the Blackhawks’ handling of the scandal.
Beach now plays in Erfurt, Germany for a team called the Black Dragons. He told TSN that in 2010 he had just finished his junior season with the Spokane Chiefs and was called up by the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. That team in turn lost the first round of the playoffs, and Beach said he and several others were called up by the Blackhawks as training players for the Black Aces.
“I think every time you get that phone call you come up – whether it’s to play or to be a practice player. But being a part of this for the first time besides a training camp, it was an extremely special time for me and for my family and the next step for me to pursue my dream of the NHL that I dreamed of and worked my whole life, ”Beach told TSN. “So unfortunately a few weeks later those memories were marred and my life was changed forever. “
Beach was 20 at the time and said he was “scared” and “fearful” of the alleged abuse.
“I would never dream, or you could never imagine being put in this situation by someone who is supposed to be there to help you and make you a better hockey player and a better person and continue to build your career,” he told TSN. “Just scared and alone with no idea what to do.”
Beach told TSN the first person he spoke to was then Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent as he traveled with the team. Beach credited Vincent with trying to do all he could when the abuse allegations first surfaced.
Beach also told his family soon after, he told TSN.
“My mother cried for days,” he said. “She felt responsible, like she should have protected me and there was nothing I could do.”
Meanwhile, Aldrich secured a front row seat in the party when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. He was able to bring the cup back to his hometown, received a playoff bonus and attended the ceremony. raising of the banner at the United Center.
But according to a four-month in-depth investigation by an independent law firm, the Blackhawks leadership was already well aware of the sexual assault allegations made by the man now identified as Beach.
“It’s clear that in 2010, the leadership of this organization put team performance first,” said Dany Wirtz, CEO of the Blackhawks. “John Doe deserves better from the Blackhawks. “
Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the independent investigation into the team’s handling of the former player’s claims after suing the Blackhawks in May, said their investigation determined the former player and Aldrich had agreed that they had sex in May 2010, but while Beach insisted he was entirely non-consensual, Aldrich maintains he was entirely consensual.
Schar said Bowman and other senior executives failed to promptly conduct a full investigation after the player informed the team’s skating coach of the alleged assault.
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According to Schar, his team interviewed 139 people during their four-month investigation; including 21 current Blackhawks players and 14 2009-2010 team members. Investigators also interviewed Doe and Aldrich, who “have very divergent memories” of what happened, but agree they had sex in May 2010.
Schar said the man now identified as Beach spoke to a team skating coach about the meet about a week after it happened, and on May 23, 2010, a team employee spoke to a team skating coach about the match. told MacIsaac that there may have been a sexual encounter between the player and Aldrich, and also that Aldrich had sent a sexually explicit message to another player.
According to Schar, MacIsaac asked mental skills trainer Jim Gary to speak to the man now identified as Beach to find out the details of the sexual encounter. Beach told Schar’s team that he provided full details of the alleged assault to Gary on May 23; and although Gary remembers only receiving “much more limited” information from the player, he told investigators that he believed the player’s claims and that Aldrich was pressuring the player to have connections. sexual.
Schar said several Blackhawks executives and coaches held a meeting within an hour of winning the Western Conference title to secure a place in the Stanley Cup final, to discuss the allegations against Aldrich , but no action was taken for three weeks.
TSN also reported that team management refused a request from Gary to contact Chicago Police regarding the sexual assault allegations.
McDonough eventually informed the team’s human resources department of the sexual assault allegations on June 14, and Aldrich resigned two days later, according to the independent investigation report.
According to Schar, during this time, not only was Aldrich allowed to continue working and traveling with the team, but he was also allowed to participate in the Stanley Cup Championship celebrations in the presence of his accuser, and also makes an unwanted sexual advance towards a 22- year-old Blackhawks Intern.
After watching Aldrich be honored with the team, Beach told TSN, “(L) the only way I could describe it was that I felt bad, I had a stomach ache. I reported this and was informed that ‘Doc’ (James) Gary had climbed the chain of command and nothing had happened. It was as if her life was the same as the day before. Same every day. And then when they won, seeing him parading lifting the Cup, the parade, the team photos, the celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like I wasn’t important and… it made me feel like he was right and I was wrong.
Beach further claimed that Gary told him it was his fault because he got into the situation.
Plus, Beach said, word quickly spread among the team and people were making nasty comments in the locker room and on the ice.
Aldrich then pleaded guilty in 2013 to a misdemeanor of criminal sexual conduct with a former Michigan high school hockey player, who also sued the Blackhawks for negligence. TSN questioned Beach about this subsequent allegation.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t do more, when I could, to make sure that didn’t happen to him. To protect him,” Beach said of the Michigan victim. I also wanted to say thank you to him. Because when I decided, after a teammate asked me about it when I was playing abroad, I decided to google Brad Aldrich’s name. and that’s when I discovered the Michigan individual, the Michigan team. And because of what happened to him, it gave me the power and the sense of urgency to ‘take action, to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Among the officers and coaches at this June 2010 meeting regarding the allegations against Aldrich, former assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and former head coach Joel Quenneville are the only ones currently employed by the NHL – Cheveldayoff as general manager of the Jets of Winnipeg and Quenneville as head coach of the Florida Panthers – and the league plans to meet with them about the investigation findings.
Beach blamed the NHL as a whole for letting him down.
“The NHL is inclusive; the NHL includes everyone. And they let me down and they let others down too. But they continue to try to protect their name at the expense of the health and well-being of the people who 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 and does his due diligence, talking not only to them, but to Stan Bowman, John McDonough and anyone else who has information. to offer before making a decision. Because they already let me down, they wouldn’t investigate for me, so why would they do it now? “
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The Blackhawks released a statement Wednesday night after Beach identified himself:
“First of all, we would like to recognize and congratulate Kyle Beach for the courage to come forward. As an organization, the Chicago Blackhawks extend our sincere apologies to him for what he went through and for the inability of the organization to respond quickly when he bravely brought this matter to light in 2010. C ‘ was inexcusable to the leaders of the Blackhawk organization of the day. delay taking action regarding reported sexual misconduct. No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players and staff from predatory behavior.
The Blackhawks have implemented many changes and improvements within the organization, including hiring a new management team that is committed to winning championships while upholding the highest ethical, professional and athletic standards. “