New York Rangers reps extended their support to Beach, the “John Doe” in the sexual assault report centered around the Chicago Blackhawks.
Members of the New York Rangers expressed their support for Kyle Beach during practice proceedings on Thursday. Beach has been identified as the “John Doe” of a damnatory report released on Tuesday, one that exposed the Chicago Blackhawks’ inaction in the wake of sexual assault allegations made against video coach Brad Aldrich en route to a championship during the 2009-10 season.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant commended Beach for his bravery in coming forward, namely through an interview with Rick Westhead on TSN’s SportsCentre program on Wednesday night.
“He came out publicly and got a lot off his chest (after) 11 years, so that’s got to be real tough on the kid. But I think he’s courageous and did an outstanding job when he came out last night. It’s a tough, tough situation, but hopefully, he can heal and feel a lot better about himself,” Gallant said, per Vincent Mercogliano of LoHud.com. “I watched that press conference last night, and I’m sure you all watched that, too. It’s really tough to watch and it really chokes you up, just as a person watching that. I didn’t know the kid personally, but the positive thing that I took out of that last night was he talked about the healing, and that’s going to take place now.”
One of Gallant’s leading scorers, Mika Zibanejad, concurred.
“It’s a terrible thing that happened and I really feel for him and for the victims,” Zibanejad said in Mercogliano’s report. “It takes a lot of courage to be able to come out and tell his story. It’s just a terrible situation that shouldn’t happen, and all the things that kind of caused him and his family all this (pain) and everything. It’s just shocking, but first and foremost, it’s a terrible, terrible thing that happened.”
The independent report declared that neither Blackhawks management nor the NHL Players’ Association acted upon allegations brought forth by Beach as the team embarked on a run to the Stanley Cup Final in May 2010. Action was taken only after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win their first championship since 1961. Aldrich resigned but was allowed to partake in the Stanley Cup celebrations and later took a job at a Houghton, MI high school, in part thanks to a recommendation from the Blackhawks. He plead guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges against a teenager three years later.
Chicago general manager Stan Bowman and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac have since resigned. Despite appear in the report, then-Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was allowed to coach the Florida Panthers in the wake of the report’s release and was said to be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday.
Beach is currently under contract in the Oberliga, a third-tier German league. He spent parts of the 2013-14 season with the Rangers’ organization, appearing in 39 games with their AHL affiliate in Hartford.
The Rangers (4-2-1) return to action on Friday night at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m ET, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags