Sam Gagner is describing the Chicago Blacklhawks sexual assault scandal as a day of reckoning for the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings forward didn’t pull any punches regarding what needs to happen. The culture of silence on these issues that envelops the game must change.
“Hopefully, it’s a reckoning,” Gagner said.
Gagner made it clear where his sympathies lie, and that’s with Kyle Beach, the former Blackhawks player who has come forward to confirm that he was one of the victims of sexual predator Brad Aldrich, the Blackhawks video coach in 2009-10.
“You feel for Kyle Beach and obviously stand with him and everything he’s gone through,” Sam Gagner said. “We commend his courage. I think it obviously took a lot for him to get to the point and . . . it’s just something you never want to see somebody go through.”
Gagner added his voice to Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall, who is calling for an end to the NHL’s old boys’ club mentality.
As well, Gagner made it abundantly clear where he stands regarding the members of the Chicago leadership team who opted to ignore the consequences of having a sexual predator in their midst in pursuit of victories.
Already, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has resigned. Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville, who was coach of the 2009-10 Blackhawks, also tendered his resignation on Thursday.
Accountability Was Necessary
“You want to see accountability for the things that have happened,” Gagner said. “It’s certainly an awful thing and we’re just hoping that Kyle, this process has kind of helped him.”
The 7-0 Panthers are at Little Caesars Arena Friday to face the Red Wings. There is small minority suggesting that the Panthers should’ve kept Quenneville in charge. Their reasoning? The club was off to its best-ever start.
Those people are conveniently forgetting that’s what led to this disgraceful situation. The Blackhawks were opting to prioritize winning over dealing with sexual assault.
Taylor Hall when asked by @mattyports about Kyle Beach & the Blackhawks:
"Every culture needs to keep getting better, and hockey's no different. This is a game that's a little bit of what you'd call an old boy's club. … there needs to be changes." pic.twitter.com/NYtaHZHkGM
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 29, 2021
“From a life perspective, I think all of us in our locker room, our biggest thoughts, me personally, I speak for myself, my heart going out to Kyle Beach, to John Doe in Hope, Michigan, in what they’ve had to go through in the hands of a predator,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s something that’s not going to go away, something they’ll have to live with the rest of their lives.
“From a personal perspective, in our room we all have a great sympathy for what those two have to go through and any others.”
Support Available To Red Wings Players
Blashill indicated that the Red Wings have in place support that players can access in times of need.
“There’s a number of things our players go through. We want to make sure there’s support for them here and we certainly have discussed that and will continue to discuss that,” Blashill said.
“The first part and the most important part is doing everything possible to not be in situations where people are exposed to predators. But that’s sometimes impossible to understand and know. When that type of action happens, no matter what happens after it, it doesn’t take away from the fact that action happened. It’s something that none of us would ever want to subject anybody to.
“From our perspective we have to make sure our players understand there’s support here for them in a lot of different areas. We have to make sure we’re making the best decisions we can with our players and our staff and anybody around us. That we’re putting their personal lives first and foremost.”