Editor’s note: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault that may be triggering and upsetting.
A former Kelowna minor hockey product was identified Wednesday by TSN as the victim of an alleged sexual assault by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach.
Beach was referred to as John Doe 1 in the legal filings surrounding the controversial report compiled by a Chicago law firm, accusations that have already led to the immediate resignations of Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaacm and a $2 million fine assessed against the team by the NHL.
The controversy surrounds when the complaint first became known to the organization during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup-winning playoff run, as sexual harassment and misconduct with the player were made against the then 27-year-old team video coach Brad Aldrich.
Several team officials discussed the allegations during the playoff run. They took no direct action and Aldrich eventually left the team three weeks later after a second complaint arose when he allegedly made a sexual advance on a team intern in the three weeks following the first complaint.
The organization took zero action against him in response to the complaints and Aldrich ultimately received a Stanley Cup ring as a member of the organization.
“I am very grateful to have the truth recognized…I know I am not the only victim in the world of sexual abuse, and I hope my story can inspire change within the NHL and around the world,” said Beach, still unidentified at that point, told Sportnet sports-legal correspondent Rick Westhead on Tuesday.
Beach is being praised widely across the hockey community this week for going public with his complaint, which is now the subject of a lawsuit against the Blackhawks.
Born in North Vancouver and raised in Sicamous, Beach played in the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association and moved on to play for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Seen as a prospect with size, grit and scoring ability, the six-foot-three forward was drafted by Chicago 11th overall in the 2008 draft.
He played with Kelowna Jr. Rockets U15 A1 in the 2004-05 season and with Okanagan Rockets U18 AAA squad in the 2005-06 season. From there, he played the following three seasons with the Silvertips.
The much-hyped prospect started his pro career with the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate Rockford IceHogs in 2010. He was called up to skate with the NHL squad during the 2010 playoff run, leading to his interaction with Aldrich.
Beach subsequently never again reached the NHL, and the Blackhawks ultimately traded him to the New York Rangers in December 2013.
After another stint in the AHL with the Rangers’ organization, he signed to play in Europe, where the 31-year-old continues to play today.
Florida coach Joel Quenneville is to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday, and Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff also plans to talk to the commissioner. Both were with the Blackhawks when the allegations were first reported to team leadership.
Beach told investigators that Aldrich threatened him with a souvenir baseball bat before forcibly performing oral sex on him and masturbating on the player’s back, allegations that he also detailed in his lawsuit.
“The report is both disturbing and difficult to read,” Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said this week. “It speaks for itself.”
~With files from The Canadian Press
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