It was like his life was the same as the day before. Same every day. And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing.-Kyle Beach
Chicago Blackhawks under scrutiny for handling of 2010 sexual assault allegations
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The Vancouver Canucks played their home opener on October 26 at Rogers Arena against the Minnesota Wild. Unfortunately, the Canucks lost by a score of three to two.
Notably, the game marked the first time since March 2020 that Canucks fans were allowed inside Rogers Arena—fully vaccinated of course. Before their home opener, Vancouver returned from a six-game road trip to begin the season (the record on the road trip was 3-5-1, for a total of 7 points). One player that is making an impact with the team and especially Canucks fans is Conor Garland. He was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes as part of the July 2021 trade that brought defenceman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, to Vancouver.
Notably, the Daily Hive reported that Garland set a franchise record; becoming the first player in Canucks history to record a six-game point streak to start the season. Garland is also shown to be an agitator on the ice; à la Brad Marchand. The newest Canuck also got into an exchange with a heckler in Seattle on October 23. Garland stared down the heckler after scoring the go-ahead goal, allowing the Canucks to win the game by a score of four to two—spoiling the Seattle Kraken’s home debut.
Canucks star player, Elias Pettersson, in seven games has one goal and three assists. His plus-minus rating is poor; as Pettersson is a minus 3. Some Canucks fans and media have speculated why Pettersson has not been as noticeable. TSN and ESPN NHL Analyst, Ray Ferraro, offers some insight as to why he believes Pettersson is off to such a slow start. “I think back to his rookie season and you know what stood out the most to me was he played like Pavel Datsyuk,” Ferraro said during an October 26 appearance on the Donnie and Dhali show on CHEK. “When he didn’t have the puck, he worked like hell to get it back. He was inside the play. He would get the puck. He’d hold it and then he’d make his moves—show off his skill—his passing, his puck handling. I don’t see that same tenacity on the puck. I don’t see the Datsyuk part of the game as frequently as I did in his first year.”
Canucks defenceman, Travis Hamonic, had taken a leave of absence as reported by Sportsnet on October 18. But eight days later, Jim Benning announced Hamonic had reported to the team and would be playing for the Canucks’ AHL affiliate team, the Abbotsford Canucks. Canucks still have several players out of the lineup due to injuries including Brandon Sutter, Tyler Motte, Brady Keeper, Guillaume Brisebois and Justin Dowling.
In other NHL news, the Chicago Blackhawks are making headlines for the wrong reasons. General manager Stan Bowman and senior vice-president of hockey operations, Al MacIsaac resigned from their positions. Global News reported on October 26 that the resignations occurred after the release of the findings of an independent investigation into allegations former assistant coach, Brad Aldrich, had sexually assaulted a player—then known as John Doe—in 2010. The Global and Mail also reported the findings revealed that during a meeting on May 23, 2010, senior executives, head coach Joel Quenneville and assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff were made aware of the accusations against Aldrich—but did nothing about it until three weeks later. The Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years on June 9, 2010. Aldrich left the Blackhawks organization after the 2009-10 season.
On October 27, Kyle Beach identified himself as John Doe during an interview with TSN reporter, Rick Westhead. Beach is now 31 years old and plays professional hockey in Germany. When Beach informed James Gary (mental skills coach) and Paul Vincent (skills coach) about what Aldrich had allegedly done, Aldrich continued to remain as part of the coaching staff.
After Chicago captured the Stanley Cup, Aldrich was photographed holding the cup—his name later inscribed on it. “I felt sick to my stomach,” Beach said. “I reported this and I was made aware that it made it all the way up the chain of command by ‘Doc’ [James] Gary and nothing happened. It was like his life was the same as the day before. Same every day. And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like, that I wasn’t important and…it made me feel like he was in the right and I was wrong.”
The NHL fined the Blackhawks $2 million for their mishandling of the accusations. In a statement, NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, expressed his disappointment regarding the inaction by the Blackhawks organization: “Today’s fine represents a direct and necessary response to the failure of the club to follow up and address the 2010 incident in a timely and appropriate manner. The report makes clear that senior management’s handling of the alleged incident included a failure to report the matter to Chicago ownership, both as to what was alleged and how it was being handled.”
Sportsnet reported Bettman scheduled a personal meeting with Joel Quenneville on October 28. And theScore reported Bettman was also scheduled to meet with Kevin Cheveldayoff on October 29. The meetings are intended for Quenneville and Cheveldayoff to discuss their roles and handling of the allegations when they were first reported. Interestingly, Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, had some wise words: “If you give people the opportunity to do the right thing, you’ll rarely be disappointed.” Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks management in 2010 chose a lesser path.