In the hours after former prospect Kyle Beach revealed that he had been the player who had filed a lawsuit against the team following an alleged sexual assault in 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks have released a statement commending the player for his bravery, and apologizing for their role in the incident.
In the statement, the Blackhawks’ organization says that it was responsible for its “failure to promptly” respond to Beach’s allegations when he brought them to members of management following the 2010 incident.
Here is the team’s full statement:
“First, we would like to acknowledge and commend Kyle Beach’s courage in coming forward. As an organization, the Chicago Blackhawks reiterate our deepest apologies to him for what he has gone through, and for the organization’s failure to promptly respond when he bravely brought this matter to light in 2010. It was inexcusable for the then-executives 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 from predatory behavior.
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“The Blackhawks have implemented numerous changes and improvements within the organization, including hiring a new leadership team that is committed to winning championships while adhering to the highest ethical, professional and athletic standards.”
On Tuesday, the legal firm hired by the team to conduct an investigation into the organization’s handling of the incident was released, revealing many new damning details and ultimately leading to the departure of both President GM Stan Bowman and executive Al MacIsaac from the club.
In the report, lawyers detailed the allegations from “John Doe,” revealed Wednesday to be 2008 first round draft pick Kyle Beach. Beach alleges that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him at his apartment during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Aldrich allegedly threatening to destroy Beach’s career if he didn’t “pretend to enjoy” the assault.
Aldrich has denied the allegations, saying that the encounter was consensual.
In the weeks after the assault, Beach informed several members of the organization, including former mental skills coach Jim Gary. A closed-door meeting was held that involved Gray, Bowman, MacIsaac, former President and CEO John McDonough, and former head coach Joel Quenneville, and no further action was taken at the time.
A short time later, the Blackhawks the Philadelphia Flyers to capture their first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years. Aldrich was allowed to continue in his role as video coach during that series, and participated in the victory celebration and parade after the title.
Aldrich resigned his position on June 16, 2010 after a meeting with the Blackhawks’ director of Human Relations and the team’s outside counsel. In that meeting, Aldrich was reportedly told that he would either have to step down or be the subject of a further investigation, and he opted to quit his position.
On Wednesday, Beach revealed himself as “John Doe 1” in an interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead.
“I wanted to come forward and to put my name on this because it’s already out there,” he said in the interview. “The details were pretty accurate in the report, and it’s been figured out, but more than that, I’ve been a survivor. I am a survivor, and I know I’m not the only one. I buried this for 11 years, and it’s destroyed me from the inside out, and I want everybody to know in the sports world and in the world that you’re not alone.”
Beach has since filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks, alleging that the team failed to act after he came forward with his allegations. He also alleges that teammates knew about the incident, and taunted him using homophobic language.
That case, along with a separate lawsuit against the Blackhawks filed by a former youth hockey player who was also allegedly assaulted by Aldrich, remain pending.