Kyle Beach has identified himself as one of the victims alleging he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach.
Beach, who was identified as John Doe in legal filings, revealed his identity in an interview with TSN's Rick Westhead on Wednesday night. The accusations have not been heard or proven in court.
"I’ve suppressed this memory and buried this memory to chase my dreams and pursue the career that I loved and the game that I love of hockey," Beach said. "And the healing process is just beginning and yesterday was a huge step in that process. But until very recently, I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, I didn’t think about it. And now that I’m beginning to heal, I begin to look back and it definitely had impacts on my life. I did stupid things, I acted out, I snapped … I did things that I never could imagine doing. I relied on alcohol, I relied on drugs and … I’m just so relieved with the news that came out yesterday, that I’ve been vindicated, and I can truly begin the healing process."
An independent review in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise was revealed on Tuesday. The lawsuits allege former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted a player during the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Seeing Aldrich remain with the team during the Cup celebrations after the incident was reported was particularly hard for Beach to accept.
"The only way I could describe it was that I felt sick, I felt sick to my stomach," he said. "It was like his life was the same as the day before. Same every day. And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like, that I wasn’t important and … it made me feel like he was in the right and I was wrong."
The 31-year-old Beach was a member of the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate in 2010 and was called up to skate with the NHL squad. The native of Kelowna, B.C., was a first-round pick (11th overall) of the Blackhawks in the 2008 NHL Draft.
The forward stayed with Rockford through the first part of the 2013-14 season before heading to Sweden to play. He never suited up for the Blackhawks in a regular season or playoff game.
Telling his family the summer after it happened was also extremely difficult, Beach said.
"My mom cried for days," he said. "She felt responsible, like she should have protected me and there was nothing could do. After that first conversation with them, we never spoke about it again until very recently. I never brought it up and they respected my privacy. They asked if I was OK and let me talk about what I wanted to talk about.
"I did what I thought I had to do to survive, to continue chasing my dream and it was to not think about it, to not talk about it, ignore it, and that’s all I could do. I was threatened and my career was on the line. And if I had that in my head, there was no way I was gonna perform at the top of my capabilities."
The team issued a statement after the interview aired, commending Beach's "courage" for coming forward.
Earlier, the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Blackhawks will begin settlement talks with Susan Loggans, the lawyer representing Beach, next week.
The Blackhawks filed documents to dismiss two lawsuits on Wednesday, but the team told the Sun-Times it was simply following legal protocol.