The ex-player previously known as John Doe who filed a sexual assault lawsuit against the Blackhawks that led to top hockey executive Stan Bowman’s ouster, a $2-million fine for the team and an organizational proclamation to change for the better what has been described as an "animalism" culture has publicly revealed his identity.
He’s Kyle Beach, who has shared his story of being sexually assaulted by former Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010. Beach revealed his identity on a TSN broadcast Wednesday evening, one day after the results of an investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block were released and found that Blackhawks executives had waited more than three weeks to act after Beach informed them in May 2010 that he had been sexually assaulted by Aldrich. The investigation found that the organization's leaders prioritized their goal of winning the Stanley Cup, which it would do on that June 9, over the incident.
“Yesterday was a day of many emotions,” Beach said on TSN. “I cried, I smiled, I laughed. I cried some more. My girlfriend and I, we didn’t know how to feel. We didn’t know how to think. We just held each other, supported each other. She’s been my rock from the very beginning of this process.
“I don’t think we ever could’ve imagined what would come out of yesterday’s press conference. Following it, it’s just a great feeling of relief, vindication – that it was no longer my word against everybody else’s.”
The Blackhawks selected Beach, who’s now 31, at No. 11 overall in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft. During the 2009-’10 season, Beach played in the Western Hockey League and then for the Rockford Icehogs, the Blackhawks’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. He then joined the Blackhawks as one of their “Black Aces,” who were prospects who could be available to join the roster if needed in the playoffs.
Beach was eventually traded to the Rangers in 2013. He never appeared in an NHL game, instead continuing his hockey career overseas. Beach is currently playing in the third-tier hockey league in Germany, he said in his interview with TSN.
“I buried this for 10 years, 11 years, and it has destroyed me from the inside out," Beach said on TSN while breaking down in tears at various moments in the interview. "I want everybody to know in the sports world and the world that you’re not alone. If these things happen to you, you need to speak up, because there are support systems.”
The Blackhawks released a statement Wednesday evening after Beach revealed his identity.
“First, we would like to acknowledge and commend Kyle Beach’s courage in coming forward," the team said. "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."
Bowman stepped down as the Blackhawks’ president of hockey operations Tuesday in conjunction with the findings of the investigation being released. The NHL issued a $2-million fine to the Blackhawks for mishandling the matter and using inadequate procedures.