The National Hockey Leagues says it will not be imposing any discipline for Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff after a meeting with him in New York, Friday morning.
Hockey player Kyle Beach alleges that he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich in 2010. Aldrich was a video coach of the Chicago Blackhawks at the time and Beach was a prospect, while Cheveldayoff was an assistant GM. The NHL has been investigating the matter after players came forward saying that the team did not handle the matter properly at the time.
“While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with the same broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person,” says NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a release sent out Friday morning.
“Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility for the Club’s actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”
The league has conducted a review of the allegations and interviewed a number of people involved.
"First and most importantly, I want to express my support of and empathy for Kyle Beach and all he has had to endure since 2010," a statement from Cheveldayoff, posted on the Winnipeg Jets' social media, says. "We all can use his courage as an inspiration to do a better job of making hockey a safer space for anyone who wants to play the game."
Cheveldayoff says is he grateful for the opportunity to meet with the NHL's Commissioner Gary Bettman to share his recollection of the 2010 events.
The NHL says that "Cheveldayoff's participation at the May 23, 2010, meeting involving senior leaders from the Blackhawks’ management team was extremely limited in scope and substance."
The release goes on to say that he was the "lowest ranking Club official in the room, and his position included no oversight responsibilities over the Club’s coaching staff. He was among the last to be included in the meeting; he was learning of the subject matter for the first time in the presence of his boss (then-GM Stan Bowman), his boss’ boss (then-CEO John McDonough) and the Head Coach (Joel Quenneville), who was Brad Aldrich’s direct superior; he had limited familiarity with the personnel involved; and he was essentially an observer to the discussion of possible next steps, which discussion, apparently, ended with Cheveldayoff believing that the matter was going to be investigated.
The NHL says that the Jets GM had no authority to make decisions for the Blackhawks hockey club and was also "not thereafter even in a position to have sufficient information to assess whether or not the matter was being adequately addressed by the Blackhawks. In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the Club’s response."
Beach was initially identified in the report as John Doe 1. He came forward earlier this week identifying himself as the victim. Since then he has received an outpouring of support from the public as well as people in the hockey world.
Beach was a 20-year-old "Black Ace" at the time of the assault, according to the public report, called up from the Blackhawks AHL team to practice and be available for play should he be needed during their push through the playoffs that year.