A former professional ice hockey player fought back tears during an emotional TV interview where he claimes he was a victim of sexual assault while playing in the NHL
A former professional ice hockey player broke down in tears during a TV interview as he claimed he was the alleged victim of a sexual assault.
Former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach spoke bravely on The Sports Network to Rick Westhead about his ordeal with then-team video co-ordinator Brad Aldrich at the centre of the accusations.
Back in 2010, Beach reported an incident to Blackhawks executives and Aldrich, 38, opted to resign soon afterwards, although was permitted to take part in the team’s Stanley Cup celebrations a few days later.
Then, in May this year, Beach filed a lawsuit alleging a prolonged sexual assault at the hands of Aldrich during that 2010 NHL season, but did so under the alias of John Doe.
On Wednesday, the NHL publicly released a commissioned report into the incident, prompting the Blackhawks to issue a statement praising Beach for coming forward and apologising for their organisational failure.
Team General Manager Stan Bowman and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac both left the organisation this week after the report was released.
As reported by various US media outlets, from the report it seemed there was more concern for the on-ice product than what occurred off the ice.
Bowman and MacIsaac were two of seven members of the Blackhawks hierarchy who, in a May 2010 meeting, discussed the reported allegations of sexual assault against Beach.
However, according to the report, those allegations were largely ignored by the team for three weeks after that meeting.
Beach, 31, said the feeling of relief was paramount following the publication of the report.
“Yesterday was a day of many emotions,” he said.
“I cried. I smiled. I laughed, I cried some more. And my girlfriend and I, we didn’t really know how to feel. We didn’t really know how to think. We just held each other and supported each other.
“I don’t think we could have ever imagined what was gonna come out of yesterday’s press conference and following it, just a great feeling of relief, vindication and it was no longer my word against everybody else’s.”
In February 2014 Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in prison on sexual conduct charges stemming from his alleged involvement with a male student, and Beach was inconsolable as he apologised on air to the victim.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Beach, who also played internationally for Canada, has since moved to Europe and currently plays in the third tier of the national German leagues.