As a life long Blackhawks fan, the joy of watching Jonathan Toews lift the Stanley Cup above his head for the first time since 1961 was awesome. Being able to celebrate with my dad and grandfather gave me lasting memories I’ll never forget. Watching the parade, watching the banner being lifted the next season, going to the Blackhawks Convention, again, memories.
Now, 11 years later, we find out that those awesome memories and celebrations we had, weren’t so great for John Doe, who later turned out to be Kyle Beach. Beach had complained to team leaders back in 2010 that video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him. Aldrich invited Beach to his apartment for dinner. It was during this time that he sexually assaulted Beach, threating Beach with his place on the team and ruining his hockey career if he didn’t comply.
Beach went to skills coach and team counselor, Jim Gary, confiding in him what had happened. Gary then went to upper management President John McDonough, Executive Vice President Jay Blunk, Assistant General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Joel Quenneville.
What’s more important, a Cup or handling a sexual assault on a player who is not a team regular. Well, the organization thought the Cup was more important as they swept the allegations under the rug. They allowed Aldrich to continue on the team, get a Stanley Cup ring, celebrate with the team in the parade, all while Beach had to watch the guy who assaulted him, celebrate as if nothing happened.
During the off season, Aldrich was offered the choice of undergoing an investigation into the act, or resign. Of course, Aldrich resigned. Not only was he able to resign, he also received a severance package. Aldrich then went on to Houghton in Michigan. While there, he sexually assaulted a 16 year old member of the hockey team. Aldrich was investigation and was arrested and plead guilty. Once Beach heard about the arrest and what happened, he knew it was time to speak up again.
The Hawks finally did an investigation into the incident and it was found that Beach was telling the truth and upper management failed him. Coach Quenneville, now a coach in Florida, resigned from coaching yesterday. Kevin Cheveldayoff was found to not have knowledge of the incident, or rather not enough to hold him accountable. Stan Bowman was relieved of his duties as general manager.
The Hawks team that brought joy to millions of fans in 2010, has the fans pissed and embarrassed in 2021. Did Toews know? Did Kane? Apparently, there were jokes toward Beach in the locker room about Aldrich being his “boyfriend”. Owner Wirtz has asked the NHL to erase Aldrichs name from the 2010 cup. But, is that enough? Should the NHL strip the Stanley Cup win from the Hawks altogether?
As I’ve stated, I’m a life long Hawks fan. I believe the Hawks fucked up. I believe that they owe Beach a huge payout and an apology on national tv before a home game. If Toews knew about it, like many said he did, do you take away the “C” from someone who was just 22 years old at the time?
I don’t know the answer to any of this. I just know the Hawks organization has a reputation and respect that they have to earn back.