Kyle Beach stands out as the victim of a Chicago Blackhawks coach’s assault: NPR

Kyle Beach # 12 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Detroit Red Wings during a preseason game on September 24, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

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Kyle Beach # 12 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Detroit Red Wings during a preseason game on September 24, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

A former Chicago Blackhawks player appeared in public as the man who filed a lawsuit against the hockey team over how the organization abused his allegations of sexual assault.

In a TV interview Wednesday night, Kyle Beach revealed himself as the former anonymous John Doe, who in May filed a lawsuit against the team. According to his allegations, back in 2010, Beach had complained to team leaders that video coach Brad Aldrich had sexually assaulted him.

The top management of the Blackhawks ignored his complaints until after the team won the Stanley Cup that season.

On Tuesday, an independent study confirmed Beach’s claims. After the 107-page report was published, the team fired two top officials who were there at the time of Beach’s assault: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and senior director of hockey operations Al MacIsaac.

Beach, who is now a professional hockey player in Germany, said during the interview with TSN that he felt confirmed by the report.

“It was no longer my word against everyone else,” he said.

An independent investigation supports Beach’s claims

In late June 2021, the law firm Jenner & Block was hired by the Blackhawks to conduct an independent investigation into Beach’s claims from his lawsuit. The report divided how Beach was attacked shortly after joining the team 10 years earlier.

In 2010, Beach, who was 20 years old, joined the Blackhawks as a “Black Ace”, a prospect who can fill a regular team member in the event of an injury, suspension or other cause. The Blackhawks were in the middle of the NHL playoffs at the time.

Almost painted and finished, the Chicago Blackhawks logo slowly appears on the ice.

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Almost painted and finished, the Chicago Blackhawks logo slowly appears on the ice.

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Aldrich, who was 27 at the time, was the team’s video coach. He invited Beach to his apartment in the second week of May and arranged for dinner and drinks. Beach said Aldrich, while threatening his place on the team, sexually assaulted him that night.

“To be honest, I was most scared. I was scared. I got my career threatened. I felt alone and dark,” he said of the days after his attack.

Beach continued to report the assault to other members of the team.

Mental skills coach and team counselor Jim Gary shared Beach’s claims with other Blackhawks executives, including then-president John McDonough, then-executive vice president Jay Blunk and then-assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and then-head coach Joel Quenneville.

The front office met and decided to “avoid bad publicity” as the team approached the playoffs. The team leaders did not disclose the allegations or remove Aldrich from the team until long after the team won the Stanley Cup.

Aldrich continued to assault others, the report shows

After the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the team still let Aldrich stay on the team and celebrate the victory.

Beach said of a witness to his addict who was celebrating with the team: “It made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like he was right and I was wrong.”

According to investigators’ report, Aldrich even made a sexual approach to a Blackhawks trainee who was 22 years old during the team’s events.

The 2010 Stanley Cup Championship banner is seen during a ceremony before the Chicago Blackhawks season opener against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on October 9, 2010 in Chicago.

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The 2010 Stanley Cup Championship banner is seen during a ceremony before the Chicago Blackhawks season opener against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on October 9, 2010 in Chicago.

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Only later in June did the Blackhawks’ director of human resources meet with Aldrich and give him the chance to review an investigation into what happened to Beach, or to resign.

Aldrich resigned, but received a severance pay and a playoff bonus and continued to receive pay for several months. He was allowed to bring the Stanley Cup for a day in his hometown, his name was engraved on the trophy, he received a championship ring, and he attended a ceremony for the Stanley Cup banner.

He went on to work with USA Hockey, the University of Notre Dame, Miami University in Ohio and Houghton High School in Houghton, Mich. While in Houghton, Aldrich was arrested and pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual activity involving a minor in 2013.

Beach said Aldrich’s arrest for the incident in Michigan gave him the power to stand up.

Former top team leaders also moved on to other teams. Quenneville is the coach of the Florida Panthers, and Cheveldayoff is the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets. Both men are scheduled to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about the results of the investigation.

Beach looks to the future

After Beach’s interview, The Blackhawks issued a statement apologizes for their lack of quick response to his assault.

The team said: “It was unforgivable for the then leaders of the Blackhawks organization to delay acting on the reported sexual offense. No playoff game or championship is more important than protecting our players and staff from predation.”

On Twitter, self-written fans and other users strongly criticized the team for its actions with Beach and for their opinion.

According to journalist Rick Westhead who interviewed Beach Wednesday, Blackhawks’ attorneys requested that a court dismiss the lawsuit against Beach and an unnamed alleged victim of Aldrich. This was allegedly done to discuss a settlement for both men.

For now, Beach is looking to the future. He said he would like to make his story an opportunity to help other potential victims.

“I know I’m not the only one, man or woman. And I buried this for 10 years, 11 years. And it’s ruined me from the inside out,” he said. “And I want everyone in the sports world and in the world to know that you’re not alone. That if these things happen to you, you have to say no.”

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