NHLPA Executive Donald Fehr Releases Statement on Kyle Beach Interview

AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr released a statement Wednesday following professional hockey player Kyle Beach’s interview with TSN:

TSN @TSN_Sports

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.

VIDEO: https://t.co/hVG7ZYiY1d pic.twitter.com/vcQYxINOX8

“Kyle Beach has been through a horrific experience and has shown true courage in telling his story. There is no doubt that the system failed to support him in his time of need, and we are part of that system,” Fehr wrote.

“In his media interview, Mr. Beach stated that several months after the incident he told someone at the NHLPA the details of what happened to him. He is referring to one of the program doctors with the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. While this program is confidential between players and the doctors, the grave nature of this incident should have resulted in further action on our part. The fact that it did not was a serious failure. I am truly sorry, and I am committed to making changes to ensure it does not happen again.”

Beach has said that he was sexually assaulted by former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 and that the team, NHL and NHLPA did not act appropriately in response.

Attorney Reid J. Schar led an independent investigation conducted by private firm Jenner & Block into the allegations as well as the team’s response, and that public report can be found here.

Of note, Schar states the following on the Blackhawks: “What is clear is that, after being informed of Aldrich’s alleged sexual harassment and misconduct with a player, no action was taken for three weeks.”

Aldrich was also allowed to quietly resign from his position and continue working in hockey without the police being notified of the allegations against him. He was later convicted of having sexual contact with a high school hockey player and served nine months in jail.

Beach also specifically condemned the NHL and NHLPA for not protecting him, calling out Fehr in particular.

“For him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs,” Beach said. “I don’t know how that can be your leader.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has since resigned following the report, as has senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac. The league has also fined Chicago $2 million for “inadequate procedures and mishandling of the 2010 matter related to the conduct of former video coach Brad Aldrich.”

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