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From Blackhawks to Beach to Kraken

Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

Dave!Kapgar left a comment on Monday's entry which reminded me of something that always puts my stomach in a knot: The Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal.

Kyle Beach was on my radar when he came up to the practice squad in the Blackhawks because I saw that he had played in Spokane (which is across the basin from me in Washington State). He never made it to any NHL play, so I lost track of him fairly quickly, but I absolutely knew of him back then.

A decade later in 2021 he came forward as a victim of sexual assault at the hands of a coach during his time with the team. He was 20 years old at the time. When the news broke I was still a diehard Blackhawks fan, because the Kraken had only just started playing and I wasn't invested with the team yet.

I will never forget hearing Beach's interview about his assault at the hands of coach Bradley Aldrich. It was so incredibly painful to watch him break down as he talked about feeling so utterly alone and afraid as he had to endure ridicule by his teammates. Even worse, he was told by the organization that what happened was his fault, which means he got no support from the staff who essentially called him a liar.

The interview was heartbreaking, but incredibly important...

That hurt me to watch back then. A lot. In some ways it hurts more now, because the entire scandal irrevocably changed my relationship with my favorite hockey team.

Seeing how horrifically this was handled by the Blackhawks and Beach's teammates soured me on them instantly.

Indeed, it was directly responsible for me becoming a fan of the Seattle Kraken, where I could start anew with my love of hockey. That they are my local team just made it all the easier. I've never left the Blackhawks behind completely, but it's seriously tough to follow the team when Kyle Beach is still fresh in my mind. My Blackhawks jersey still hangs in my closet, where it's been ever since. I think the only way I'd wear Blackhawks gear again would be if I got a customized Beach jersey...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave in a Blackhawks Jersey

Because I'm just going to say it: Beach is a fucking hero for coming forward and advocating for change. Nobody deserves what he went through, and I wish every single man everywhere could see this so they understand that assault can happen to anybody, and our toxic masculinity culture means that nothing and nobody will save you. Instead you get dismissed, called a liar, and ridiculed. This isn't the way it should be, and things have got to change.

Lucky for all of us these assaults are finally being dragged kicking and screaming into the public eye. And we have heroes like Kyle Beach to thank for it. He says that he received a lot of support after speaking out. I sure hope that's true because he deserves nothing less.

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Categories: News – Politics 2024Click To It: Permalink


  1. kapgar says:

    He is 100% a hero! I can’t even imagine his life for the last 14 years. Geez. And you just gave me an idea for what to do with my Blackhawks jersey. Gotta find out what number Beach was. Because I definitely do NOT want to wear Toews ever again.

    • Dave2 says:

      What bothers me most is that there are pundits and “fans” saying “HE’S JUST SAYING THIS BECAUSE HE’S MAD HE NEVER GOT TO PLAY!” and “HE’S BIGGER AND TOUGHER THAN THE COACH! HE COULD HAVE PUSHED HIM AWAY!” and “HE HAS NOBODY TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF! IF THAT WERE ME, THAT VIDEO COACH WOULD HAVE LOST HIS HEAD” — And it’s like… come on. You weren’t there. And that coach had all the power over him. He was a 19-year-old kid who wanted to play hockey and this was the biggest break he’d ever see in his life. He was on his own. His entire livelihood and future were tied to the Blackhawks. Maybe he was in too much shock. Maybe he was scared to do anything. Maybe he didn’t want to jeopardize the career path he dreamed for himself. There are a million things that could have been going through his head, and nobody would truly know what it was like for him unless they lived his life, had his experiences, and was in that situation. It’s reprehensible that victim blaming is a thing, and yet here we are.

  2. kapgar says:

    Rewatching that video… seeing Kyle blame himself for not doing enough to stop Aldrich before he could assault that kid in Michigan just guts me.

    • Dave2 says:

      Same. I was so happy to learn that the kid’s mom reached out and told him not to blame himself. Not sure if it made things easier on him, but I hope so.

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