NHL-Beach says fight is ‘just beginning,’ amid reports Quenneville met commissioner

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach said his fight is “just beginning,” as ESPN reported National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman met with Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville to discuss Beach’s sexual abuse allegations that were raised when Quenneville coached the Blackhawks.

Beach said on Wednesday that he was the player who brought sexual assault allegations against Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010, after an independent investigation found that the team failed to act on his allegations.

“Although the results of the private investigation have been released, and the Blackhawks have apologized, my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court,” Beach said in a statement posted to his Twitter account, referring to his pending lawsuit against the team over the abuse.

He offered thanks for the “endless love and support” he received this week, adding, “While I take this time to reflect and continue the healing process, it is a reminder that this is not about me as an individual.”

A NHL report released on Tuesday said that Blackhawks President John McDonough was aware of the allegations that Aldrich sexually assaulted the then 20-year-old during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs but did not want the negative publicity.

The Blackhawks said in a statement that “we will engage in good faith efforts to fairly resolve these matters to rectify” the harm Beach suffered.

Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and twice more under Quenneville’s tenure before he joined the Panthers in 2019.

Panthers President Matt Caldwell and General Manager Bill Zito attended Quenneville’s meeting with Bettman as well, according to ESPN. The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A memo from Bettman addressed to NHL teams circulated on social media on Thursday in which the commissioner instructed all players and personnel across the league to “immediately report” conduct that is “clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive or that may violate the league’s policies.”

The NHL did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

CBC News reported this week that Kevin Cheveldayoff, an assistant general manager with Chicago in 2010 and current general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, is expected to meet with Bettman on Monday.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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