In the aftermath of the Jenner and Block investigation of the mishandling by the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks management of sexual assault allegations against video coach Brad Aldrich by Kyle Beach, the NHL has been reeling and trying to perform damage control. Gary Bettman has handed out some rather benign punishment to the team while stating that some of the management team could still be gainfully employed again in the NHL in the future if they ask Gary nicely enough. Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff somehow escaped unscathed and believes that while he did nothing in the past, he can make changes for the future. If you believe that one, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
Kevin Cheveldayoff addresses the Kyle Beach situation pic.twitter.com/0K9bzZOD4g
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) November 2, 2021
Something I can’t get past in all this is the portrayal of Stan Bowman as a trainee and Kevin Cheveldayoff as some random man.
— Steve “Dangle” Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) November 2, 2021
Some players have been candid about what they think of the situation as handled by the team, the NHL, and the NHLPA.
NHL Commissioner Bettman has declined to pay for counseling for the second plaintiff, John Doe 2 who was abused by Aldrich in Michigan as a minor, stating that he needed more information. What other information do you need since Aldrich was convicted? A team in his league let this guy go and do worse things.
This isn’t leadership.
Brad Aldrich served 9 months in jail for abusing a 16-yr-old hockey player.
That player & his family have been destroyed.
I asked Gary Bettman today if NHL will cover the family's counselling costs.
Bettman needs "more information."
I'll talk about it tonight on @CTVNationalNews.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) November 2, 2021
Now under the guise of leadership and best practices, the NHL is reforming its strategy to have this information go to the top.
The NHL sent a memo to teams yesterday titled: "Fostering A Safe and Inclusive Culture"
Per a copy I saw, all league personnel & players "are required to immediately report" to Gary Bettman or Bill Daly conduct that "is clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive."
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) October 28, 2021
Sorry, when it’s something illegal, it needs to be reported to the police. I wouldn’t trust Bettman and company to drop off my dry cleaning.
One thing that I think about often is how much I admire the leadership of the Bruins. First it was Zdeno Chara who made sure that all players regardless of age or skill level were treated with respect and dignity. He doesn’t even like using the term “rookie” for first-year players because it creates a division and air of inequality in the room.
This is the man who climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for the Right to Play Charity. No doubt he influenced Patrice Bergeron, who was already raised well by parents that included a social worker. Current alternate captain and noted pest Brad Marchand walks the walk as well.
Yesterday, Brandon Carlo spoke about how Patrice Bergeron and Bruce Cassidy felt that it was important that the team watch the Kyle Beach interview on TSN together.
"We felt a responsibility that we all wanted to watch the [Kyle Beach] interview together…it was very powerful and it affected all of us…I want to commend him on his courage." — Brandon Carlo pic.twitter.com/uvVlZDQ1Hp
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 2, 2021
This group wouldn’t let a player get minimized and ostracized after abuse, nor let the abuser get away with it. And while that seems like such a low bar in most cases, right now in the NHL, that is the best you could hope for.