Nearly a week after an explosive report detailing the mishandling of sexual assault allegations against a former Blackhawks coach was released, the leader of the National Hockey League is speaking out.
Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, called last week "difficult and disturbing."
“…but not nearly as disturbing and difficult as it has been this week and since 2010 for Kyle Beach," said Bettman.
Bettman held a virtual press conference on Monday to talk about the independent investigation and actions taken by the NHL to address the findings.
Bettman doubled down on the $2 million fine the league slapped the Blackhawks with for mishandling the 2010 allegations.
“It was also a message to the rest of the league: You need to make sure your organization is functioning properly under these matters,” said Bettman. “It was substantial by any measure and acknowledges the organization failed to act appropriately."
The investigation, conducted by Jenner and Block Law Firm, found that senior leaders of the Blackhawks held off on reporting sexual abuse allegations so that it wouldn’t distract the team as they went for a 2010 Stanley Cup win. Kyle Beach, a prospect player at the time, accused former video coach Brad Aldrich of sexually assaulting him and threatening his career. Aldrich’s attorney told NBC that his client denies those allegations.
Years later, Aldrich was entered into Michigan’s sexual offender registry after being convicted in a separate case.
Beach went public with his allegations last week, revealing his identity during an interview on a Canadian television program a day after the report was released.
Following the release of the investigation's findings, Stan Bowman, the team’s former general manager, resigned.
Former Head Coach Joel Quenneville resigned as the head coach of the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Although former Blackhawks Assistant General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was also called into a meeting with Bettman, no further action is being taken.
"Kevin was not in a position even to be made aware of or the access of additional information about what was going on after the May 23rd meeting," said Bettman. "I do not believe he bore any responsibility for the club’s failure to act appropriately."
Bettman said he spoke to Beach on Saturday morning to offer resources to him and his family.
"I was horrified. It was emotional. I was distressed," said Bettman.
Beach’s lawsuit against the Blackhawks is ongoing.
Half of the $2 million fine against the team will go to Chicago-area organizations that help sexual abuse survivors.