Kyle Beach: Hockey player who made sexual abuse allegation against former Blackhawks video coach speaks out
On Tuesday, the NHL announced that it had fined the Blackhawks $ 2 million for what the league described as “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and premature response” regarding the management by the team of suspected incidents of sexual misconduct involving former video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. The league claims it punished the team following an independent investigation.
The Blackhawks have ordered an investigation after a lawsuit was filed into the 2010 incident earlier this year by an unidentified hockey player, according to the report. The independent investigation determined that on May 8 or 9, 2010, there was a sexual encounter between Aldrich and the unidentified 20-year-old player, who was a member of the Blackhawks affiliate team, in the apartment of Aldrich. The player alleged that Aldrich sexually assaulted him while Aldrich claimed the meeting was consensual, the report says.
Beach, who now plays professionally in Germany, introduced himself as “John Doe” in the report and as “John Doe” in the lawsuit. On Wednesday, he expressed “a great sense of relief and justification” and that “it was no longer my word against that of others.”
Beach has also said he wants to come forward and put his name on it.
“To be honest, it’s already there,” Beach told TSN. “The details were pretty specific in the report, and they were understood. But more than that, I’ve been a survivor, I’m a survivor. And I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only one a man or a woman. And I buried it for 10 years, 11 years. And it destroyed me from the inside. “
“As an organization, the Chicago Blackhawks reiterate 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,” indicates the press release. “It was inexcusable for the leadership of the Blackhawk organization to delay action on the reported sexual misconduct. No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players and staff from predatory behavior.
“Focus on the team and the playoffs”
Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac resigned Tuesday after their alleged roles in the case were detailed in the investigation by law firm Jenner & Block, LLP.
According to the investigation report, MacIsaac, then senior manager of Blackhawks hockey administration, was made aware of the incident on May 23, 2010 and dispatched mental skills coach and team advisor Jim Gary to question the player, who said Aldrich had pressured him into having sex and threatened his career if he refused.
Later that day, according to the investigation report, a meeting of the Blackhawks’ senior management was called to discuss the situation.
Bowman recalled, according to the investigation report, that then-president John McDonough and then-head coach Joel Quenneville “commented on the challenge of making it to the final of the Stanley Cup and the desire to focus on the team and the playoffs. ” Hours earlier, Chicago had won the Western Conference Championship to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Quenneville is currently the head coach of the Florida Panthers.
Discussing the situation years later with another employee on the team, MacIsaac said McDonough wanted to avoid any negative publicity during the playoffs. Bowman recalled that McDonough told the group he would handle the situation, according to the investigation report.
But Aldrich continued to travel and work with the team, according to the investigation report, throughout the playoffs, and the investigation found no sign of action being taken to remedy the situation. until June 14, after the end of the season. The Blackhawks’ policy at the time was that all reports of sexual harassment be investigated “promptly and thoroughly”.
The report said: “Our investigation, however, did not reveal any evidence that McDonough or anyone else contacted human resources or initiated an investigation between May 23 and June 14.”
During the interim, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on June 9, and at a team celebration on June 10, Aldrich allegedly made a sexual advance to a 22-year-old team intern. The intern rejected Aldrich’s advance, but did not report the incident, the investigation report said. It is not clear from the report how the alleged incident involving the intern ultimately came to light.
“The failure to promptly and thoroughly investigate the matter not only violated the Blackhawks’ own policy on sexual harassment in effect at the time, but the decision to take no action from May 23 to June 14, 2010 had real consequences, including allegations involving Aldrich’s unwanted sexual advance to a Blackhawks intern before he was finally separated from the club, ”the NHL said.
Aldrich received severance pay and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup
On June 14, 2010, McDonough informed team human resources of the incident and the May 23 team leadership meeting. McDonough said, according to the director of human resources, “It has been decided that the group will not alert HR or do anything about the incident during the playoffs so as not to disrupt team chemistry. “. McDonough told investigators he did not recall this conversation.
Almost a decade later, the Blackhawks fired McDonough. The team did not state the reason for the dismissal in their press release last year. The team said: “It was the right decision for the future of the organization and its fans.”
The director of human resources met with Aldrich on June 16, 2010, offering him the option of opening an investigation into the incident with the anonymous player or of resigning. Aldrich chose to resign and no team investigation was ever conducted, according to the investigation report.
Aldrich received severance pay and a playoff bonus. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup. He received a championship ring and was allowed to take the Stanley Cup to his hometown for a day, according to the investigation report.
“The only way I could describe it was I felt sick, I had a stomach ache,” Beach told TSN of seeing Aldrich interact with the team when the Blackhawks won the round. Stanley Cup.
“I reported this and learned that ‘Doc’ Gary had climbed the chain of command and nothing had happened. It was like his life was the same as yesterday. The same every day. And then when they won, seeing him parading around the Cup, at the parade, at the team photos, at the celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. , that I wasn’t important and … it made me feel like he was right and I was wrong. “
Aldrich then worked with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami in Ohio, according to the investigation report. He also worked at Houghton High School in Houghton, Mich., Where he was arrested and pleaded guilty to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in 2013.
CNN has reached out to MacIsaac, Quenneville, Aldrich and McDonough for comment. CNN attempted to contact Gary for comment.
In a statement Tuesday, Bowman said, “The team needs to focus on their future, and my continued participation would be a distraction. I think too much of this organization to let that happen.” Bowman also resigned as general manager of the 2022 US Olympic men’s hockey team, according to USA Hockey.
The Blackhawks organization apologized to its fans in a letter released on Tuesday, stating: “It is clear that the organization and its leadership at the time did not live up to our own standards or values in the management of these disturbing incidents. John Doe and the others who were affected and the lack of rapid response. As an organization, we offer our sincere apologies to those who suffered from these experiences. We must and will do better. “
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.