Kyle Beach identifies himself as 'John Doe' in Blackhawks sexual assault scandal
The Blackhawks drafted Beach with the 11th overall pick in 2008. He was a member of the organization in 2010, when he says former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him.
Law firm Jenner & Block investigated the team's handling of the incident and released a report of its findings on Tuesday.
"Yesterday was a day of many emotions. I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I cried some more, and my girlfriend and I - we didn't know how to feel," Beach said in the interview. "We didn't know how to think, we just held each other and supported each other."
He added: "And following it, just a great feeling of relief and vindication, and it was no longer my word against everybody else's. Because a lot of things were made public, a lot of people were interviewed, and I really felt like there was a lot of lies told in the media. And it was very special and important to me to have that truth come out yesterday."
Beach, who played for the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs in 2010, reflected on the moment the Blackhawks called him up to be on their playoff roster.
"But to be a part of that for the first time besides a training camp, it was an extremely special moment for me and for my family and the next step for me pursuing my NHL dream that I dreamed about and worked for my entire life," he said. "So, unfortunately, a couple weeks after, those memories were tainted, and my life was changed forever."
Beach also discussed how he felt when he informed the team of what happened and Aldrich didn't face any immediate consequences.
Jenner & Block's investigation found that executive members and coaches in the Blackhawks organization were made aware of the allegations but didn't immediately act. Instead, the team waited until days after winning the Stanley Cup to report them to human resources.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman plans to meet with former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville - now the head coach of the Florida Panthers - and former Chicago assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff - now the Winnipeg Jets GM - on Thursday to discuss their roles in the mishandling of the assault allegations.
Beach delivered his own message to Bettman and the league.
"The NHL is inclusive; the NHL includes everybody. And they let me down and they've let down others, as well," he said. "But they continue to try and protect their name over the health and the well-being of the people who put their lives on the line every day to make the NHL what it is.
"I hope through and through that Gary Bettman takes this seriously and that he does his due diligence, that he talks to not only them, but Stan Bowman, John McDonough, and anybody else that has information to offer before he makes his decision. Because they already let me down, they wouldn't investigate for me, so why would they now?"
Beach also expressed his disappointment in NHL Players' Association executive director Don Fehr for his lack of action when made aware of the allegations.
"I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after. I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr," Beach said. "And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs, I don't know how that can be your leader. I don't know how he can be in charge."
Fehr released a statement in response on Wednesday night.
"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 said.
"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," he added. "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 also said why he chose to come forward now rather than remain anonymous.
"It's a big step for me, my process of recovery, as I process the events that happened and as I truly deal with the underlying issues that I have from them," he said. "For me, I wanted to come forward and put my name on this. To be honest, it's already out there. The details were pretty accurate in the report, and it's been figured out.
"More than that, I've been a survivor, I am a survivor. And I know I'm not alone. I know I'm not the only one, male or female. And I buried this for 10 years, 11 years. And it's destroyed me from the inside out. And I want everybody to know in the sports world and in the world that you're not alone."