Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews told reporters Wednesday night they wish they “knew more” and could have done more to help Kyle Beach, one of the team’s top prospects, back in 2010.
Kane and Toews spoke to the media following the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday to react to the team’s mishandling of Beach’s sexual abuse allegations against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich.
Beach identified himself as the “John Doe” player at the centre of the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations in an exclusive interview with investigative reporter Rick Westhead on TSN’s SportsCentre earlier Wednesday night. The 31-year-old, who was selected 11th overall by the Blackhawks in the 2008 Draft, now plays hockey in Europe.
"Very courageous for (Beach) to come out and let his name be known to the world after everything he went to.” Kane told reporters, “Wish back then we could have done some different things, knew about some different things, maybe we could have helped him."
Kane said he'd like to reach out to Beach and tell him he "wish he knew more" and "could have done something to help him."
"He's been living with this for a long time and it takes a lot of courage for him to put his name behind the story."
Adding that he did not know John Doe was Beach until today.
Toews spoke once Kane’s time with the media came to an end, "I don't wish to exonerate myself in any situation by saying I didn't know.”
“But the truth is I hadn't heard about it until training camp the next year. That doesn't change what happened. It doesn't make it go away."
Toews added: “We wish we could have done something differently, myself included. My heart goes out to Kyle for what he dealt with. Wish I could have done something. It's not an excuse looking back, but the truth is a lot of us were focused on just playing hockey.
"I feel a ton for what Kyle went through and what he's dealing with at this point, too. I don't know what else to say. I think the guys that were part of that group all wish they could have done something different."
Both players also commented on the removal of Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, with Kane calling the organization’s decisions "necessary" and "the right moves." He also called Bowman "a great man who did a lot of things for me personally."
"Stan and Al ... they’re not directly complicit in the activities that happened,” said Toews. “It’s not up to me to comment on whether they would like to deal with it differently or not. ... I have a lot of respect for them as people. They're good people."
Both Toews and Kane were members of the eventual 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team when Beach was recalled from the minors as a Black Ace by the parent Blackhawks team to help Chicago during their playoff run.
"Winning the Stanley Cup that year is beside the point,” said Toews.”Whether we win or lose ... we wish we could take it back and it never happened and young players didn't have to deal with a situation like that."