TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the National Hockey League Players Association’s executive board will hold a meeting on Monday, where executive director Donald Fehr will field questions about about the alleged abuse Kyle Beach suffered while with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
TSN spoke with Calgary Flames NHLPA representative Mikael Backlund on the allegations levied against Fehr and the role of the union.
TSN: Mikael, did you read the report or watch the interview with Kyle Beach and if you did, what were your thoughts?
MB: I haven’t read the full hundred-page report, but I’ve read things and seen clips on social media, on TV and my reaction is just sad about what happened. I feel really bad that Kyle had to go through that and didn’t get the help he should have gotten. That shouldn’t happen. I’m happy it came out and that people that didn’t stand up for him were acknowledged. It was brave of him to come out, too. He’s definitely gonna help some other kids or players if they’ve been through it to come out, seek help, and get the bad people out of the game.
TSN: One of the things that came out this week was that perhaps the NHLPA knew, be it Donald Fehr or doctors, about the abuse Kyle received but didn’t necessarily act on it. Do you think the NHLPA should have done more and do you have a thought as to the leadership of the NHLPA and its role?
MB: I don’t know the full story on what happened with the PA. There’s going to be a call tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’m not gonna make it because of family reasons, but it’s an important call. If the PA knew about it and he reached out, they should have done something of course. They should definitely have helped Kyle. I mean, it’s the players’ union. That being said, I don’t know what happened and what he said and who he talked to – if it was Donald Fehr or not. I’m sure we’ll get to know more tomorrow. I don’t know the full story on that part.
TSN: If you were in that meeting or if you could ask Donald Fehr questions, what would they be?
MB: Probably all players just want to know what happened. Who did [Kyle] talk to? Who did he reach out to? Just kind of, ‘Did you know? What did you guys do?’ That kind of stuff.
TSN: Does something like this make you question the resources or the ability of the PA to step up for players if it’s known that they knew [about Beach] and didn’t act? Does that maybe shake your confidence in the PA?
MB: I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s been an investigation or other reports into what actually happened with the PA. Until I fully know for fact what happened, I’ll have a better answer.
TSN: Finally, did the team talk about this at all? Was this mentioned in the dressing room at all?
MB: Yeah, the guys talked about it. It was big news. It’s a sad story. This shouldn’t happen and should have been dealt with 10, 11 years ago. It should never have happened in the first place and since it did, it should have been taken care of. Guys talked about it. Not as much now, but definitely when the report came out and the investigation came out. We had a little bit of a team talk about it. Everyone knew what happened and it’s good we talked to each other about it.