The former player at the heart of the Chicago Blackhawks assault scandal has come forward publicly. Kyle Beach tells TSN he felt “alone and dark” in the days following the alleged assault in 2010. (Watch the interview below.)
Earlier this week, a report detailed how senior team leaders badly mishandled Beach’s allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted him. Beach said he felt “relief and vindication” over the findings.
The ramifications now stretch beyond Chicago. Florida coach Joel Quenneville is slated to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday. Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff also is planning to talk to the commissioner next week. Both were with the Blackhawks when the allegations were first reported to team leadership.
An investigation, the results of which were released Tuesday, found that the allegations Beach made against then-assistant Brad Aldrich were largely ignored by the team for three weeks after a May 23, 2010, meeting discussing them took place.
Quenneville read from a prepared statement after the team’s morning skate Wednesday, saying he could not discuss the specifics because the investigation is ongoing.
Beach was 20 at the time of the attack. He was a so-called “Black Ace” ― a minor-leaguer summoned to the NHL parent team for the playoffs who is often used for practices ― when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. He participated in the victory parade.
He played four more seasons with the organization, never appearing in an NHL regular season game. He currently plays professionally in Germany, the Chicago Tribune noted.
“I did what I had to do to survive, to continue chasing my dream,” Beach said. “That was to not think about it, not talk about it, to ignore it, and that’s all I could do because I was threatened, and my career was on the line.”
“If I had that in my head, there was no way I was going to be able to perform at the time.”
Kyle Beach, John Doe in the Blackhawks investigation, talks to @rwesthead about how his NHL experience 'changed forever,’ his reaction to the findings, and support for other victims of sexual assault.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 27, 2021
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.