For the first time, former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach is opening up about his experiences after a bombshell report documented how the team failed to act when the prospect reported that he had allegedly been sexually assaulted by a coach.
Beach, who filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks amid the allegations, spoke to TSN’s Rick Westhead in an interview Wednesday evening, saying that although it took him years to speak out about his experiences, he feels that now is the time after the release of the report earlier this week.
“I cried, I smiled, I laughed, and I cried some more,” he said. “My girlfriend and I, we didn’t know how to feel or think. We held each other and supported each other.”
On Tuesday, the Blackhawks released the findings of an investigation conducted by an independent law firm into their handling of the allegations levied by Beach. The investigation found that several team executives, including former GM and President of Hockey Operations Stan Bowman and former President and CEO John McDonough, failed to act on the information provided by Beach to the organization.
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Beach, a 2008 first round draft pick of the Blackhawks, alleges 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.”
After Aldrich left the organization, he worked with several colleges before working with a high school team in Michigan. While there, he was accused of sexually assaulting a player, and he later pleaded guilty to charges in the case. He is now a registered sex offender in the state of Michigan.
Now, a player from that team has also filed suit against the Blackhawks over their handling of the Aldrich case, and although Beach says that the alleged assault he suffered caused him great pain, he says one of his greatest regrets is a feeling that he didn’t do more to help the young player who was assaulted by Aldrich.
“I’m sorry I didn’t do more,” a visibly emotional Beach said. “I’m sorry I didn’t do more when I could, to make sure that it didn’t happen to him.”
The lawsuits filed by Beach and the former Michigan high school player are both still pending, with settlement talks set to take place next week.
The fallout from the release of the report is continuing this week, as Bowman and fellow Blackhawks executive Al MacIsaac both left the organization Tuesday. 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.