Editor’s note: The following story deals with sexual assault, and may be upsetting for some readers. If you or someone you know is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.
The NHLPA has scheduled an executive board call, which includes one player representative from every team, on Monday.
This meeting comes after a bombshell report by Jenner & Block LLP exposed the findings of an investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against then-Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich by John Doe, now revealed as Kyle Beach.
According to the 107-page report, which can be found here, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr was contacted twice about allegations connected to Aldrich, including by a Beach confidant. Fehr told investigators he couldn’t recall either conversation, but did not deny that they had occurred.
Beach addressed this and criticized Fehr in his interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead on Wednesday.
“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.”
In response to the interview, Fehr released a statement acknowledging that the association should have done more to protect Beach.
“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.”
According to the Associated Press, Beach is slated to meet Fehr via a Zoom call on Saturday.
— With Files from Associated Press