Beach, now 31, was 20 years old and a rookie in the National Hockey League when he said the team’s video coach sexually assaulted him.
At the time, Beach said he reported the incident to another of the team’s coaches, who informed the Blackhawks’ front office of the allegations. But franchise management did not take action or go public with the allegations, reportedly to “avoid bad publicity” during the team’s playoff bid.
Now, Kyle Beach — who has since left the NHL and is playing professionally in Germany — has come forward as the “John Doe” who filed suit against the Chicago Blackhawks in May, alleging that the organization mishandled the allegations and did nothing to investigate or discipline Brad Aldrich until the team won the Stanley Cup.
Kyle Beach Explains What Happened in 2010
In a TV interview with Canadian sports network TSN, Kyle Beach publicly identified himself for the first time on Wednesday.
The day before, the Blackhawks had released their own report on the incident, which concluded that “nothing was done” after Beach’s allegations reached franchise management.
“[Tuesday,] it was a day of many emotions,” Beach said of the report that vindicated his allegations, 11 years after the fact.. “I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I cried some more. My girlfriend and I, we didn’t really know how to feel, we didn’t really know how to think.”
According to the Blackhawks’ own investigation and the lawsuit Beach filed in May, Kyle Beach said he was in the apartment of video coach Brad Aldrich, then 27, for dinner and drinks in the spring of 2010. That night, Beach said Aldrich threatened his place on the team and sexually assaulted him.
He told investigators that Aldrich, brandishing a “souvenir baseball bat,” forcibly performed oral sex on him before “masturbating on the player’s back,” CBC reports.
“To be honest, I was scared mostly. I was fearful,” Beach told TSN of the days that followed. “I had my career threatened. I felt alone and dark,” adding that the incident “destroyed me from the inside out.”
For his part, Aldrich has said that the encounter was consensual and told reporters he had “nothing to say” in light of Tuesday’s report.
Beach said he informed Blackhawks’ coach Paul Vincent of the alleged assault not long after. Vincent reported the allegations to franchise management, but they did nothing until after the team won the Stanley Cup, according to the team’s own investigation.
After winning the championship, Aldrich was “given an ultimatum” and resigned — but not before he was allowed to take part in team celebrations, and even given a day with the Cup, a league tradition for championship teams.
“It was like his life was the same as the day before. Same every day,” Beach said of Aldrich after the allegations. “And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing.”
Stan Bowman Resigns Amid Blackhawks Purge
In light of the Tuesday report, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman “stepped aside.”
Al MacIsaac, Blackhawks senior vice president of hockey operations, was also ousted Tuesday. The pair were the last remaining officials in the Chicago front office that were with the team when Beach made the allegations in 2010.
“We must and will do better,” franchise CEO Danny Wirtz commented after the high-profile departures.
According to the Blackhawks’ internal investigation, Bowman was made aware of the allegations on May 23, 2010 at the very latest — weeks before any action was taken to address the alleged assault.
After Kyle Beach identified himself Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks issued a formal statement on the case.
“First, we would like to acknowledge and commend Kyle Beach’s courage in coming forward,” the team wrote.
“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.”
Moving forward, the franchise said it has ‘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.”