The Unraveling of a Decade-Old Sexual Misconduct Case


Bruce Bennett

Jonathan Toews celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup win.

Abby Homrock, Sports & News Editor

 The 2010 season seemed like the epitome of a great year for newly-crowned Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. To the public eye this was a picture-perfect season, but that was sadly not the case. The Blackhawks management perpetrated one of the most despicable acts by an organization, they swept the sexual assault of a Blackhawks player under the rug.  

    Kyle Beach, former first round pick of the NHL Entry Draft, came forth with sexual misconduct allegations against former video coach, Brad Aldrich. Originally being referred to anonymously as “John Doe” Beach revealed himself to be the victim of this heinous act. In June 2021, the Blackhawks appointed the law firm Jenner & Block to perform an independent investigation about said allegations. 

    As made clear in the 107-page independent investigation report, Beach was allegedly forced to perform non-consensual sexual acts with Aldrich. Aldrich told Beach, “no one can find out or I will make sure you never play in the NHL” according to the report. Beach first reported the incident to Blackhawks management in 2010, directly after it happened. Beach stated, “I believe everyone in that locker room knew about it” when addressing the media about the situation. According to Beach, homophobic slurs were yelled at him by teammates, taunting him about the misconduct. The Chicago Blackhawks organization failed to report these allegations to the authorities, thereby failing Beach himself. 

   Due to the failure of the Blackhawks management to stand up for Beach, repercussions were severe for all involved. Head coach of the Blackhawks at the time, Joel Quenneville, met with the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, on Oct. 28. Following this meeting, Quenneville resigned from his current position as head coach of the Florida Panthers. Bettman also met with then assistant manager of the Blackhawks, Kevin Cheveldayoff. Bettman decided to not follow through with any consequences on behalf of Cheveldayoff. Stan Bowman, general manager of the Blackhawks has been repealed from his duties. He was also the general manager of the men’s olympic hockey team, no longer holding this position due to the exposure. 

    Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks captain, expressed his support for those who lost their jobs due to the scandal. “People like Al [MacIssac] and Stan [Bowman]  have made coming to the Blackhawks…one of the special places to play hockey. I have a ton of respect for them as people” he told the media while addressing the situation. Toews was named captain of the Blackhawks in 2008. Jeff Bartl, former sportswriter, expressed on Twitter that “Jonathan Toews needs to make a public statement about why he allowed this to happen as captain. Seems pretty unforgivable no matter how old he was at the time. He was made captain for a reason and this fell under his jurisdiction.” Even though Toews was only 22 at the time of the assault, his actions of not stepping up for his fellow teammate show a lack of leadership. 

    A photo of Toews and fellow teammate Patrick Kane celebrating the 2010 Stanley Cup victory surfaced, showing “Pronger is Gay” written on the white board behind them, which is compliant with the allegations of homophobia. Chris Pronger, whose name was written on the board behind them in the photograph, was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team the Blackhawks were facing in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

    Beach’s courage to reveal his identity and make sure this does not happen again was not unnoticed. Beach was praised by fans and other NHL players from all over the league commending him for his bravery and agenda to change the toxicity of hockey culture. New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad told the media when asked about the situation, “I’m shocked and it’s a terrible thing that has happened. I really feel for him and the victims. It takes a lot of courage to come out and tell his story. Just a terrible situation that shouldn’t happen.”