National Hockey League Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr says his organization should have done more to protect Kyle Beach.
Fehr released a statement on Wednesday night after Beach, in an interview with TSN, identified himself as one of the victims alleging he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2010.
“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. 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 was critical of Fehr in the interview.
“I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after,” he said. “I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr. 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. If that’s what he’s going to do when a player comes to you and tells you something, whether it be abuse, whether it be drugs, whether it be anything, you’re supposed to have the players’ backs and they definitely didn’t have mine.”