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Why ex-Blackhawk Kyle Beach came forward: ‘I’m a survivor’

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Kyle Beach, the former Blackhawks first-round pick who came forward as John Doe on Wednesday, said he took the step of speaking out publicly to help affect change and let other survivors know they aren’t alone.

Beach, who was allegedly the victim of sexual assault at the hands of former Blackhawks video coordinator Brad Aldrich, spoke in a 25-minute interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead on Wednesday after the Jenner & Block report was released, prompting Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac to leave the organization.

“It’s a big step for me, my process of recovery, as I process the events that happened and as I truly deal with the underlying issues that I have from them,” Beach said. “For me, I wanted to come forward and put my name on this. To be honest, it’s already out there. The details were pretty accurate in the report and it’s been figured out.

“More than that, I’ve been a survivor, I am a survivor. And I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only one, male or female. And I buried this for 10 years, 11 years. And it’s destroyed me from the inside out.”

The most emotional moment of the interview came when Westhead asked Beach for his message to the high school player assaulted by Aldrich in Houghton, Mich. in 2013, three years after the incident with Beach. Aldrich pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Kyle Beach Blackhawks
Kyle Beach speaking on TSN on Wednesday.
TSN

Speaking through tears, Beach apologized to the player.

“I’m sorry I didn’t do more, when I could, to make sure it didn’t happen to him,” Beach said. “To protect him. But I also wanted to say thank you to him. Because when I decided, after a teammate asked me about it when I was playing overseas, and I decided to Google Brad Aldrich’s name and that’s when I found out about the Michigan individual, the Michigan team.

“And because of what happened to him, it gave me the power and the sense of urgency to take action, to make sure it didn’t happen to anybody else. So, I’m sorry, and I thank you. And I hope at some point down the road, if he’s open to it, I would love to meet him. Because unfortunately, we share something in common — it’s going to be a part of us for the rest of our lives.”

Kyle Beach Blackhawks
Kyle Beach playing for the Blackhawks in a rookie tournament on Sept. 14, 2010.
Getty Images

Beach brought up support systems like those around the USA Gymnastics scandal and Sheldon Kennedy’s advocacy network, in hopes that his coming forward will help affect change.

“There is people that are with you,” he said. “And I hope that this entire process can make a systematic change to make sure this never happens again.”

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