Kyle Beach's Interview With Rick Westhead Was Incredibly Difficult To Watch And Paints A Horrifying Picture

This was extremely difficult to watch. Even more difficult than the report was to read. The pain he is still clearly feeling is obvious and very real. I commend him for telling his story and facing this head on. I could feel my heart breaking especially when he said he wanted to apologize to the victim in Michigan for not doing more in the moment. Doing something that could've prevented further abuse. From all accounts in the report it sounds like Kyle did everything he possibly could. He told his closest confidant, Paul Vincent. Paul Vincent, for those who don't know, is skills coach and a former Boston Police Officer. Paul Vincent told Mental Skills Coach James Gary, Al MacIsaac, Stan Bowman and John McDonough what happened in a meeting. Paul Vincent appears to be the only adult in the situation who acted properly in 2010 and was the first one to act properly again in the summer of 2021. Thank god for people like Paul Vincent. 

I will be totally honest with you guys. I am having a hard time reconciling many aspects of the story. Through this job I've had the opportunity to meet with many of the names listed in the report. Most notably the interview with Stan Bowman a year ago and then golfing with Joel Quenneville and his family this past summer. The only way I can view this story is through my own eyes and experiences. With that comes some bias and I admit that. I hate thinking that the actions or inactions by people I respect led to the trauma by others and impacted Kyle Beach so deeply. It is a tragedy that is not be taken lightly. Which is why I have spent so much time writing this blog because I want to choose my words carefully, say things that I believe to be true, and being respectful to the pain felt by Kyle Beach, Black Ace 1, and other victims that came in contact with Brad Aldrich. 

And this is where my bias comes in. I spent a weekend with Joel Quenneville, his family, and friends in Connecticut this summer. I found them to be a great family. They were warm, fun, welcoming, and in my estimation...extremely straightforward and honest. The weekend was to raise awareness for a cause that hit close to home for me personally and by the end of the weekend I felt very comfortable sharing information from my own life experiences with them. That experience might lead to bias, but it also might lead to an insight of their values. Maybe. And I say maybe because the reality is that I don't know them like my own family. They did remind me of my own family though. 

I am NOT trying to exonerate anyone. I want proper justice for Beach and the other victims. I do have an issue with people grabbing a quote from social media and making an assumption rather than read through the entire report. Reading all the details is very difficult and because I wanted to do my absolute best to understand what happened I read through it multiple times now.

107 pages of legal documents are never fun to read. 107 pages about something that churns your stomach and breaks your heart is even worse. I tried to make it more digestible and there are many quotes below. 

Joel Quenneville is under fire for a few pages from the report, his statement from the summer 2021, and obviously now the video from Beach. 

That statement coupled with the page 47 of the report make it look like Joel Quenneville is lying about knowing what happened. Below is the Bowman statement on Page 47

Bowman recalled that, during the May 23, 2010 meeting, either MacIsaac or Gary stated that there was an incident between John Doe and Aldrich in which Aldrich had tried to “climb into bed” with John Doe one night at Aldrich’s apartment.406 Bowman recalled that Gary said he had spoken to John Doe earlier that day and that John Doe did not want to talk about it.407 Bowman told us that, as described to him, the situation did not strike him as immediately alarming at the time as the allegation did not involve a sexual assault as having occurred.408 Bowman recalled that, after learning of the incident, Quenneville shook his head and said that it was hard for the team to get to where they were, and they could not deal with this issue now.409 Bowman further recalled that McDonough referenced his previous employment with the Chicago Cubs.410 Bowman recalled McDonough saying that the Blackhawks might never make it this far in the playoffs again, and that they needed to think about when to handle the issue.411

People are using this quote I underlined on page 47 to say that Quenneville absolutely knew severity of what happened between Beach and Aldrich, didn't give a fuck in real time, and therefore was lying about his knowledge when he released his statement on July 13th saying that he learned of the incident through the media. The statement the line above that says that Stan Bowman said the situation "did not strike him as immediately alarming". He also said that he did not know of the severity until this summer as well and he doubled down on that again after he stepped aside with his statement. 

Quenneville's own statement is inline with Bowman about what was exactly said in the meeting which he arrived to late after coming up from the locker room. 

During his interview, Quenneville generally recalled a meeting in McDonough’s office after Game 4 of the San Jose series with members of the Blackhawks’ senior management.439 Other participants in the meeting recalled that Quenneville was not present for the first portion of the meeting and was called upstairs to the Front Office to join the meeting after it had started.440 Quenneville recalled others in the meeting stating that “an event happened without saying what happened” and that “something may have happened.”441 When interviewed, Quenneville stated that he believed that the issue being discussed involved a coach doing something improper and that the group was meeting to decide whether to “make it public.”442 Quenneville also stated that he did not believe that John Doe’s name was referenced and, after multiple interviews, Quenneville was unclear whether Aldrich’s name was referenced.443

What I am merky on here is that I can't tell if Joel Quenneville was in the room when Jim Gary detailed what happened. The following is from page 46 of the report

Jim Gary, Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac, John McDonough, Kevin Cheveldayoff, and Jay Blunk were present. The participants recalled the meeting lasting for between ten and twenty-five minutes.392 After the meeting started, Bowman recalled McDonough saying that Quenneville should participate because the incident involved Aldrich, a coach.393 Quenneville was subsequently called to the Front Office to join the meeting.394 When interviewed, Quenneville stated that being called into a meeting in McDonough’s office was unusual since the game had just ended.

What was said in this portion of the meeting? How detailed was it? They were shocked, according to the report, but Stan also said that the situation did not strike him as "immediately alarming (page 46)". So how detailed could Gary have been in that meeting? You would think that Aldrich inviting Beach over for dinner, forcibly kissing Beach, threatening to ruin his career, threatening his physical health, and ejaculating on Beach would be pretty fucking alarming. Like a 5 alarm fire alarming. Like "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER IS THIS PERSON ALLOWED WITHIN 10000 MILES OF THE FACILITY…EVER AND CALL THE FUCKING POLICE" type of alarming. 

Gary says he said the following on pages 46-47

Gary recalled during his interview that he told the assembled group in McDonough’s office what John Doe told him: that Aldrich was pressuring John Doe for sex, that John Doe told Aldrich he was not “into that,” and that Aldrich threatened John Doe by saying if John Doe did not comply, Aldrich could hurt John Doe’s career.396 Gary recalled that he also expressed that John Doe was uncomfortable around Aldrich due to the situation.397 Gary recalled the participants seemed to be stunned.398 He recalled that the participants started to discuss what to do next, including someone mentioning the possibility of an investigation into the matter.399 Gary stated during his interview that he believed he heard someone ask if they should involve the Director of Human Resources.400 Gary recalled that he told the group that it was important for them to speak to John Doe and McDonough stated he would speak to John Doe.401 Gary further recalled asking if the group needed him, the group saying no, and Gary leaving the meeting before it ended.402 Gary stated that when he left the room, he told the group to let him know what happened so that he could inform John Doe of the outcome.403 Gary recalled that someone said they would get back to him.404

So now it turns into a game of "he-said, he-said". Did Gary tell everyone the first part of the highlighted paragraph? If he did and McDonough, Bowman, MacIsaac, Cheveldayoff, and Blunk did nothing then they all deserved to be fired and probably should face further consequences. 

It is unclear to me from Gary's statement if Joel Quenneville was in the room for Gary's portion of the meeting in McDonough's office. It clearly states that Gary left before the meeting concluded and that Joel Quenneville was late to the meeting. Was there overlap? Did Joel Quenneville speak to Gary in this meeting? I don't know. 

If you believe Bowman and Quenneville they were told something "inappropriate" happened between a coach and a player. There is a big gap between workplace harassment which would likely be handled by HR and the account from Beach in the report. Both Bowman and Quenneville, people who don't agree on anything, seem to agree that they didn't know the severity and the horrifying details of the situation until summer 2021. If they knew the details and did nothing then they are not fit to be in a leadership position of any kind. 

Kyle Beach also had this to say during his interview

This is an explosive tweet and quote from Kyle Beach and I understand the outrage surrounding it. If you watch the full video clip(scroll to the 19:50 mark) Beach says "I witnessed a meeting between Gary and Quenneville in the Quenneville's office. There is no way Joel Quenneville can deny knowing it". I don't understand what "I witnessed a meeting…" means exactly. Was Beach in the room with Gary and Quenneville? Did he simply see them talking? I'd like clarification on that because this meeting is not detailed in the report unless I missed it somehow. Was it uncommon for Quenneville and Gary to meet? While I understand where Beach is coming from, there were also at least 25 players that Gary would be working with at that time and Quenneville could've been speaking about a number of them. That is, assuming of course, that Beach wasn't sitting in the room. If he was and he heard Gary tell Quenneville in detail what happened then that obviously changes everything. If that circumstance occurred then Joel Quenneville should step down. You'd think that would be in the report though, but it isn't (I am going blind from reading so if I missed it I sincerely apologize). 

In conclusion…I don't know anything 100%. I wasn't there. The details in the report are absolutely disgusting. The Blackhawks CLEARLY violated their own sexual harassment policy by not conducting an immediate and thorough investigation. They also should've provided proper counseling and resources to Beach. A police report of the assault also DEFINITELY should've been filed by leadership and/or Human Resources when they learned the details as a former Police Officer FUCKING TOLD THEM TO. This was NOT sexual harassment. This was a power dynamic by an adult who was acting as a predator against a young player of just 20 years old. This was criminal and should've been treated as such. If McDonough (and possibly others) did the right thing they could've ended the chain of Aldrich victims. It is truly deplorable what happened. My thoughts go out to Kyle Beach and all the other victims. I can't even imagine living with their trauma. I hope that time, therapy, understanding, and support can help them heal and that this also raises awareness for other victims. 

I am very interested to see what Joel Quenneville says publicly and how Bettman reacts to their conversation. Given the statements from everyone in the report and the players last night I have a hard time saying exactly what people knew and when. The report itself says that accounts vary wildly. I am not trying to exonerate anyone. I am not trying to crucify anyone either. This is why it is very important to be precise in your speech. Otherwise there's too much room for assumptions. I hate assuming things. It's why I've stressed reading the document carefully. The full document can be found here. I think it would probably be helpful for Beach and Quenneville to also speak. Hopefully there is a resolution of greater understanding and justice for the victims. 

Kyle Beach's elite prospects page now includes a link to which helps victims with similar stories to Beach.