SPOKANE, Wash. — Former Spokane Chief Kyle Beach has revealed himself as the “John Doe” in the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault investigation.
According to the Associated Press, Beach stated that he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach with the Blackhawks organization back in 2010. His accusations were ignored by his team and the league just days before the Blackhawks won its first Stanley Cup since 1961. Now, 11 years later, the NHL team is facing serious consequences.
Beach accused the franchise and the NHL for failing to respond to this incident in a timely manner. The Blackhawks have been fined $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response.”
According to CBS News, this investigation has had serious ramifications for the franchise’s front office, as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman announced Tuesday that he was resigning when news of the assault surfaced.
"We and he ultimately accept that, in his first year as general manager, he made a mistake, alongside our other senior executives at the time, and did not take adequate action in 2010," team CEO Danny Wirtz announced Tuesday afternoon.
In 2010, Beach had just finished his one and only season with the Spokane Chiefs before being called up to the Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s AHL affiliate. After the Ice Hogs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Beach and several others were called up to Chicago as practice players. It was during that time that Beach accused assistant coach Brad Aldrich of sexually assaulting him.
CBS News reported that Beach was only 20 at the time, “scared and “fearful” following the abuse.
While Beach’s accusations were ignored, the Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup that same year with Aldrich reaping the benefits of bringing the cup to his hometown, receiving a playoff bonus and attending the banner-raising ceremony.
According to CBS News, Beach was motivated to step forward again after Aldrich pleaded guilty in 2013 to criminal sexual conduct with a former Michigan high school hockey player who had also sued the Blackhawks for negligence.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't do more, when I could, to make sure it didn't happen to him. To protect him," Beach said of the Michigan victim. "But I also wanted to say thank you to him. Because when I decided, after a teammate asked me about it when I was playing overseas, and I decided to Google Brad Aldrich's name and that's when I found out about the Michigan individual, the Michigan team. And because of what happened to him, it gave me the power and the sense of urgency to take action, to make sure it didn't happen to anybody else."
The Blackhawks released the following statement late Wednesday after Beach identified himself:
"First, we would like to acknowledge and commend Kyle Beach's courage in coming forward. 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. The Blackhawks have 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."
The Spokane Chiefs also tweeted their support of Kyle Beach after the news hit, writing in part that they wanted to share their "immense respect and admiration" for Beach, "who has shown incredible courage in coming forward with his story."
"These cruelties have absolutely no place in our world, let alone our sports," the team wrote in part. "We hope the process will provide Kyle with some sense of relief and healing moving forward. We are proud of his leadership and hope his bravery will help others. Once a Chief, always a Chief."