TORONTO — The executive board of the NHL Players’ Association has voted to approve an independent investigation into the union’s handling of sexual assault allegations by Kyle Beach in 2010.
Executive director Don Fehr recommended on a call earlier this week bringing in outside counsel to review what happened more than a decade ago when the PA learned of Beach’s allegations. The NHLPA announced Thursday that board members voted in favor of that.
Players in recent days expressed concern over the NHLPA’s handling of Beach’s allegations, even though he wasn’t technically a member because he never played in an NHL game. An investigation commissioned by the Chicago Blackhawks found that a confidant of Beach’s reached out to the NHLPA, with nothing coming of it.
“I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after,” Beach said during his interview on TSN in Canada last week, his first since identifying himself as John Doe. “I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr. And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how that can be your leader. I don’t know how he can be in charge.”
Fehr signed on as an NHLPA adviser in the summer of 2010 after Aldrich resigned rather than face a Blackhawks investigation. Fehr was named NHLPA executive director in December of that year.
In a statement last week, Fehr said the person Beach spoke with was a program doctor at the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, which while confidential should have resulted in further action because of its severity.
“The fact that it did not was a serious failure,” Fehr said. “There is no doubt that the system failed to support him in his time of need, and we are part of that system.”