Chicago Blackhawks

Players React After Kyle Beach Reveals He is ‘John Doe' in Sexual Assault Lawsuit

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Current and former Blackhawks players are reacting after Kyle Beach, a 2008 first-round draft pick, revealed he is "John Doe" in a sexual assault lawsuit involving the Chicago team.

Beach was part of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship team and it was that same year that he said the alleged sexual assault took place.

Now, stars and other members of that same team are reacting to the news after Beach said he believes players on the team were aware of what happened to him.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, star members of the 2010 Stanley Cup team who are still with the Blackhawks, addressed the news Wednesday.

Kane, who remains in COVID-19 protocol, asked to address the media from his home, while Toews spoke following Wednesday's game.

During the press conference, Toews was asked to recall what he knew at the time.

"Listen, at the end of the day, I don’t wish to exonerate myself in this situation in any way by saying I didn’t know," Toews said. "But the truth is that I had not heard about it until training camp the next year. At the end of the day, that doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t take that away. It doesn’t make it go away. At the end of the day, collectively, as players, if guys did know, hindsight’s 20-20. We wish we could’ve done something differently, myself included."

"My heart goes out to Kyle for what he dealt with. I wish I could’ve done something. It's obviously not an excuse looking back, but the truth is a lot of us were just focused on playing hockey and doing what we were doing every single day. If you do hear rumors, in the back of your mind. Now if you look at the detail of it all, it looks ugly and it's really hard to stomach the fact you didn't dive into something like that a little bit more and take it more seriously.

"It’s always easy to say in hindsight, and obviously it's a long time ago, but at the end of the day, I feel a ton for what Kyle went through and what he’s dealing with at this point, too. I don’t know what else to say. The guys that were part of that group all wish they could’ve done something different."

Kane said he knew Beach well and called him courageous, but added that he didn't know Beach was John Doe until the interview Wednesday.

"Just a terrible situation and very courageous for him to come out and let his name be known to the world after everything he went through," Kane said. "I knew Kyle pretty well from a couple different training camps and just seemed like a happy-go-lucky guy and always in a good mood. So I think hearing that it was him and with the news and with everything going, obviously you feel for him, compassion for him and his family, and wish back then we could’ve done some different things or new about some different things and maybe we could’ve helped him."

Former teammate Brent Sopel tweeted that Beach was a "True HERO."

Beach alleged that he was sexually assaulted by former video coach Brad Aldrich in an apartment in May 2010, just before the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup later that summer.

In the report, Aldrich says that the sexual encounter he had with Beach was consensual, and denies any wrongdoing in the case.

Beach alleges that he came forward to several team personnel, and according to the report released by the team, executives opted not to inform the club’s HR department of the allegations until after the playoffs had concluded.

At that time, Aldrich was given a choice to either resign his position or face an investigation, and he ended up quitting his post.

In the interview, Beach says that Aldrich was allowed to continue working as the team’s video coach even after the allegations were relayed to team personnel, with Aldrich continuing to work with players as the playoffs went on.

Aldrich also received a championship ring, was present at the banner unveiling ceremony in Oct. 2010, and even was given his own day with the Stanley Cup in Houghton, Michigan.

“When they won, to see him paraded around, lifting the Cup at the parade, at the team pictures, at the celebrations, it made me feel like nothing,” Beach said. “It made me feel like I didn’t exist.”

Toews said what happened to Beach "puts things in perspective."

"When you’re chasing your dream of winning a Stanley Cup, it becomes the only thing," he said. "As they say, winning is everything and it just consumes your whole world. It's a special memory in a lot of ways, but when [there's] something like this that tarnishes it, it makes you realize there’s more to life than hockey in so many ways.

"This is an unfortunate situation. Winning the Stanley Cup that year is beside the point. Whether we won or not, do we wish this would’ve been dealt with differently in some ways? Probably. We wish it could’ve taken it back and it never happened and young players never had to deal with a situation like that? Absolutely. It’s just tough all around."

Kane agreed, calling the situation "tough."

"You have a lot of great memories from that year and I think just learning the news and how everything went down, definitely could’ve been handled differently, most importantly for Kyle’s sake," he said.

In the fallout from the team's release of the sexual assault investigation report,  former GM and President of Hockey Operations Stan Bowman and fellow Blackhawks executive Al MacIsaac both left the organization Tuesday. President and CEO John McDonough was relieved of his duties in the spring of 2020.

Former head coach Joel Quenneville, who was in the May 2010 meeting where the allegations were discussed, is set to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday. Former Blackhawks executive and current Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is set to meet with Bettman on Monday.

But Kane and Toews stopped short of criticizing the former Hawks leaders.

"To me, Stan and Al, make any argument you want, they’re not directly complicit in the activities that happened," Toews said. "It's not up to me to comment on whether they’d like to deal with it differently or not. I just know them as people and I've had a relationship and friendship with them for a long time as being part of the Blackhawks family. People like Al and Stan have made coming to the Blackhawks for players around the league, who come here to play on this team, one of the special places to play hockey. To me, I have a ton of respect for them as people. How the situation went down, what the timeline was, what they knew, I can’t really comment on that."

"I knew Stan very well," Kane said. "I know him as a great man. He did a lot for me, personally, coming into the league and just over the course of my career. I’m sure he probably would’ve handled things a little bit differently nowadays, but what happened, happened in the past and I think the organization made the right moves to get the Blackhawks going forward in the right steps and making sure we're trending forward."

NBC Sports Chicago/Associated Press
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