NHL Commissioner, NHLPA boss meet separately with Kyle Beach on Saturday

By Sportsnet and The Associated Press

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 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.

In a statement after comments made by Beach on TSN, Fehr acknowledged 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.”

Beach met with Fehr in a video conference call on Saturday.

Susan Loggans, an attorney representing Beach in a lawsuit against the Blackhawks, said Beach’s meeting with Fehr covered the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program, which did not follow up when Beach reported what happened.

“They looked at it as though it was a privileged communication and they couldn’t do anything,” Loggans said. “And they want to carve out a mechanism whereby if abusive behavior is taking place they can take action.”

RELATED: Kyle Beach identifies himself as victim in Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault case

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Earlier, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to Beach about what the league can do to better protect its players.

Loggans said Bettman expressed his “sincere regret” over what Beach had experienced. He also offered the NHL’s help with psychological services and anything else that the league had available.

“There was discussion about what could be done in the future to assure this kind of thing did not occur again,” Loggans said in an email to the AP.

A message was left by the AP seeking comment from the NHL.

The NHL fined Chicago US$2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” to Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.

According to a report by an outside law firm, commissioned by the team in response to lawsuits by Beach and a former high school student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan, senior leaders with the Blackhawks discussed Beach’s accusations at a meeting on May 23, 2010, right after Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup. Aldrich told investigators the encounter was consensual.

Accounts of what was said during the meeting vary, but the report found there was no evidence that anything was done about the accusations before then-team president John McDonough contacted the team’s director of human resources on June 14 – a delay that violated the organization’s sexual harassment policy.

During those three weeks, Aldrich continued to work for and travel with the team. Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said Aldrich also “made an unwanted sexual advance” toward a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern.

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