NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, PA staff and the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program could not be blamed for “any individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of any policy or procedure,” according to an independent review of the federation’s response to Kyle Beach’s allegations ‘ were identified for sexual assault by then-Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich.
The review was conducted by the law firm of Cozen O’Connor in relation to “Communications with the NHLPA in 2010 and 2011 regarding Aldrich’s and Beach’s reports of his conduct”. It was commissioned by the NHLPA in early November 2021.
“In summary, after a thorough review of contemporaneous records, policies and practices in force at the union at the time, and memories of all parties of contacts with the NHLPA or the SABH program, we cannot identify any individual wrongdoing or institutional failure of policy or procedure by Fehr.” , NHLPA personnel, or the SABH program regarding handling of Beach’s reports,” the findings read. “Beach’s warnings about Aldrich were not raised because of misunderstanding and misunderstanding, but because of individual or systemic failure.”
The NHLPA said Cozen O’Connor made “several recommendations to the board that outline new processes and resources for the NHLPA to consider.”
The board voted not to publish the recommendations “for now because they require further development by staff and evaluation by the board.”
In May 2021, two lawsuits were filed against the Blackhawks over their handling of sexual assault allegations against Aldrich. Beach, a former Blackhawks player, said he was sexually assaulted by Aldrich weeks after he was drafted to the team in 2010. Beach was listed as John Doe 1 in the lawsuit.
Aldrich left the Blackhawks in 2010 after the organization won the Stanley Cup and joined the coaching staff of an all-boys high school hockey team in Houghton, Michigan. In December 2013, following his second stint as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan High School, Aldrich pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a teenager. Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in Houghton County prison.
After filing the lawsuits, the Blackhawks commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Aldrich. The investigation found that Chicago decided to hush up the allegations, letting Aldrich end the season and quietly let him go during the offseason.
As a result of the investigation, general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac left their roles on the team.
The following day, Beach revealed himself as John Doe 1 in an interview with TSN.
“I was scared,” Beach told TSN of the attack. “My career was threatened. I felt alone and dark. … I didn’t know what to do; as a 20-year-old I never dreamed that you could never imagine being put in this situation by anyone that’s supposed to be there to help you.”
In December, Beach and the Blackhawks reached a settlement in his negligence lawsuit against the team.
(Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
https://theathletic.com/news/kyle-beach-nhlpa-report/s3xgKPXd4lCN/?source=rss The NHLPA is releasing an independent review of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault response