Kyle Beach: Surviving Sexual Assault in the NHL

Jacob Gregor, Contributor

On October 28, the NHL and hockey world was shocked with a lawsuit against an NHL team. Kyle Beach, 31, announced to the public that he was the one who filed the lawsuit against the Chicago Blackhawks professional hockey team. The lawsuit was over how the team mishandled sexual assault allegations. The allegations came from a span of instances dating back to 2010. During that season, the Chicago Blackhawks also won the Stanley Cup Finals.

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In the 2010 season, Kyle Beach was a prospect. He joined the team as a “Black Ace.” A black ace is a player who is signed by a professional team after the minor league season is over. The intentions of this were that he could be called up to play for the team in the playoffs if necessary. Brad Aldrich, who was the team’s film and video coach, had come into contact with Beach.

Brad Aldrich, who was 27 during the 2010 season, had sexually assaulted Beach, in an attempt to blackmail Beach by performing sexual favors, and in return Beach would be a member of the Blackhawks. In a report by the attorney office Jenner & Block, it explains in detail the events that occurred during the 2010 playoff run. In the report, it is clearly stated that “John Doe stated that the encounter was entirely non-consensual,” (Block & Jenner, 4). The report was originally anonymous. As mentioned above, Beach later revealed that he was John Doe. 

John Doe stated that the encounter was entirely non-consensual

— Block & Jenner Report via Kyle Beach

Although the occurrence of the sexual assault is a big deal, there are also other things that occurred that do not seem right, especially for an organization for the National Hockey League. The Block & Jenner report also mentioned that “the extent to which individuals affiliated with the Blackhawks, including those in senior management, knew about Aldrich’s conduct in May 2010,” (Block & Jenner, 3). For senior management to know about this event and to do nothing is a huge problem. This problem is not only grave for the team but for all survivors of sexual assault, as well as people who specifically have management positions that deal with these exact issues. 

Even Blackhawks head coach at the time Joel Quenneville has resigned from his current head coaching position of the Florida Panthers. In a statement to TSN Sports, Quenneville stated “I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered. My former team, the Blackhawks, failed Kyle and I own my share of that,” ( Quenneville since then had been working with the Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers. 

It has been confirmed that the owner of the Blackhawks organization requested that Brad Aldrich’s name be removed from the Stanley Cup, but no further news has been released in regards to the lawsuit. Since 2010, most of the employees who were told or knew of his sexual assault of Beach had kept quiet. If it were not for the lawsuit from Beach and his attorneys, this case might not ever have seen the light of day. 

It is crucial to read the Block & Jenner report to find the details of this case. One thing as a community that needs to be done is to listen to the victims. It took Beach a little over ten years to speak out about what happened. Beach is a survivor, and should be recognized for it. As unfortunate as it sounds, everyone needs to learn from this, and help one another out in regards like this. The only reason Beach had filed for this lawsuit was because he had heard of another instance of sexual assault with Brad Aldrich. This sexual assault instance occurred with a 16 year old. It felt like his duty to reach out and stop this from happening a third time. That is when Beach decided it is time to put a stop to this and make for change. 

Cases like these are what hurts the NHL and the entire game of hockey. With the sport gaining more and more attention, it really does hurt how outside people view the game of hockey. It is important that everyone who is aware of this case learns from this and improves society as a whole. There is no place in the game for this, and this should be the last time as well.

A link to the entire Block & Jenner report can be found here.