Failure Defines Blackhawks Stanley Cup Run

Patrick Schmitz, Scribe Reporter

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Sports and championships are not bigger than human lives. In 2010 the Chicago Blackhawks traded the well-being of a human life in order to win a championship. Kyle Beach is his name, and he was sexually assaulted during the playoff run of the Blackhawks in 2010.

In May of 2021 Kyle Beach, who was a third overall draft pick, came out as “John Doe” in sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Soon after the Chicago Blackhawks commissioned an independent firm, Jenner and Block, to conduct an investigation on the matter. After months of investigating, Jenner and Block released a report stating that the front office of the Chicago Blackhawks met to discuss the assault, but decided to keep Aldrich on the team, even permitting him to get a championship ring and a day with the Stanley Cup. 

The Blackhawks eventually fired Aldrich but never informed authorities about the credible accusations. Aldrich went on to other hockey programs where he committed other sexual assaults. He was eventually charged with, and found guilty of, criminal sexual misconduct perpetrated upon a 16-18 year old high school student. Stan Bowen, the Blackhawks General Manager, Al Macisaac, the director of hockey operations, and coach Joel Quenneville all have since been fired. Team president John McDonough had been fired in April of 2020, before the accusations became public.

The NHL itself is not free from blame, either. In a weak attempt to bring justice and hold the Blackhawks accountable, the league fined the organization two million dollars. To put that in context, the New Jersey Devils were fined three million dollars for their attempt to circumvent the league salary cap. In other words, breaking league policy is a more heinous crime than sexual abuse. This speaks volumes about the values of an organization and league predicated on profit. 

Kyle Beach is a reminder that human lives aren’t worth rings. Kyle Beach was ignored and had to suffer in silence for over a decade because of it. The NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks failed Kyle Beach. Other people had to suffer because of the team’s deliberate negligence. The Chicago Blackhawks had a great team in 2010; I had many fond memories of the playoff run. But winning the Cup in that overtime game in Philadelphia won’t be remembered the same way, instead, the failure of Kyle Beach will be their team legacy. 

The whole front office and many on the team failed Kyle Beach. Sports teams are always trying to win championships, but pursuing of victory at the expense of health, safety, and dignity is simply shameful. No matter the circumstance, the allegations should never be ignored. This story should be heard by all Chicago sports fans, even if the story isn’t finished. Kyle Beach is in the process of suing the Blackhawks, and we should never forget how the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks failed him.

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