The fallout from the Jenner & Block investigation into Brad Aldrich’s sexual assault on “John Doe” and the Chicago Blackhawks’ coverup continues one week after the law firm’s report became public. A mere 24 hours elapsed when Kyle Beach revealed himself as “John Doe” during an emotional TSN interview with investigative reporter Rick Westhead.
The Boston Bruins watched the nearly half-hour segment together after returning home from their recent two-game road trip. Bruce Cassidy presented the idea of watching Beach’s testimony as a team to Patrice Bergeron. Boston’s second-year captain agreed with the sixth-year bench boss.
Cassidy explained his thought process of bringing the group together to watch Beach’s tough but courageous segment following Wednesday’s practice.
“At the end of the day there’s a lot of different people who let this kid down. That’s how I took it,” Cassidy said. “I brought it up to Bergy [Bergeron]. I thought it would be good for the group to watch it. And I don’t want to force it on them either. Some stuff as a coach you have to let players decide and other [situations] are non-negotitable. This was highly recommended to get the guys to watch it, and he agreed. So hopefully something good comes out of it on how they treat their own as well.”
Bergeron and company didn’t have any qualms.
The tight-knit Bruins pride themselves on accountability both on and off the ice. They’ve established a successful and healthy model for other hockey teams at all levels to copy. Their decision to watch Beach’s interview together exemplified their closeness.
“We thought it was a responsibility that we all wanted to watch the interview with Kyle Beach together,” defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “I think he was trying to display a message for all of us to speak up and have a lot of courage in doing so,”
Carlo provided the Bruins with some added leadership stability as Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Torey Krug departed Boston during the last two off-seasons. The Colorado Springs-born blue-liner serves as Boston’s NHLPA rep. He wasn’t shy in voicing his thoughts on the Beach situation when the NHLPA conducted an emergency meeting earlier in the week.
“It kind of transitions into us feeling a responsibility in the players association to further investigate the knowledge and information that was given to certain people, who didn’t act accordingly in regard to making more of an effort to stand up for Kyle,” Carlo added.
The Blackhawks failed Beach as he endured years of hardships following Aldrich’s heinous act. Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr ignored the situation for years. All parties entered damage control with their comments. Bettman, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and star forward Patrick Kane all worsened the situation with their cringeworthy statements. These two most public figures in Blackhawks history, in particular, heaped tone-deaf praise for former GM Stan Bowman.
Toews saw the backlash to his comments regarding Bowman. In a follow up with the Blackhawks media corps, Toews publicly expressed regret for his initial statement. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Blackhawks prioritized winning Stanley Cups over basic humanity in 2010.
And in 2013.
And again in 2015.
The Bruins injected character into their winning culture. Based on my interactions with the team over the last decade, there’s no doubt they would’ve handled the Beach situation differently. And none of them won’t hesitate to speak out if they encounter any display of unacceptable behavior within the organization.
“That’s the culture we have here. It’s powerful,” goaltender Jeremy Swayman said. “Obviously what [Beach] went through is unimaginable, and we’re so thankful he had the courage to come out and speak and protect others who could possibly go through that.”
“I thought it was a great call by our leadership group to do that,” Swayman added. “I know I personally learned a lot and that’s to make sure that when you do see something that you speak up.”
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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