On Tuesday, the Blackhawks released the findings of the Jenner & Block investigation into the sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich and made organizational changes immediately after doing so. Stan Bowman stepped down as President/GM, and Al MacIsaac was also relieved of his duties.
A little more than 24 hours later, Kyle Beach came forward as John Doe in a 25-minute interview with TSN's Rick Westhead. He shared his story through his own words, and it was heartbreaking and emotional to watch.
Before Wednesday's game, alternate captains Alex DeBrincat and Connor Murphy addressed the media to discuss the events that followed the report. But the two players that we needed to hear from were Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the only two members from the 2010 Stanley Cup team.
Kane, who remains in COVID-19 protocol, requested to speak to the media after the game from his home, according to the Blackhawks' PR, and Toews, who was removed from COVID-19 protocol just before the game, also spoke.
Toews was asked to recall what he knew at the time after Beach came out and said he's certain every single player on the team was aware.
"Listen, at the end of the day, I don't wish to exonerate myself in this situation in any way by saying I didn't know," Toews said. "But the truth is that I had not heard about it until training camp the next year. At the end of the day, that doesn't change what happened. It doesn't take that away. It doesn't make it go away. At the end of the day, collectively, as players, if guys did know, hindsight's 20-20. We wish we could've done something differently, myself included.
"My heart goes out to Kyle for what he dealt with. I wish I could've done something. It's obviously not an excuse looking back, but the truth is a lot of us were just focused on playing hockey and doing what we were doing every single day. If you do hear rumors in the back of your mind. Now, if you look at the detail of it all, it looks ugly, and it's really hard to stomach the fact you didn't dive into something like that a little bit more and take it more seriously.
"It's always easy to say in hindsight, and obviously it's a long time ago, but at the end of the day, 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. The guys that were part of that group all wish they could've done something different."
Kane said he didn't know that John Doe was Beach until he revealed himself on Wednesday.
"Just a terrible situation and very courageous for him to come out and let his name be known to the world after everything he went through," Kane said. "I knew Kyle pretty well from a couple different training camps and just seemed like a happy-go-lucky guy and always in a good mood. So I think hearing that it was him and with the news and with everything going, obviously you feel for him, compassion for him and his family, and wish back then we could've done some different things or new about some different things and maybe we could've helped him."
The Blackhawks broke a 49-year championship drought by winning it all in 2010. But the developments over the last 48 hours have put a stain on what they accomplished on the ice.
"It puts things in perspective," Toews said. "When you're chasing your dream of winning a Stanley Cup, it becomes the only thing. As they say, winning is everything, and it just consumes your whole world. It's a special memory in a lot of ways, but when [there's] something like this that tarnishes it, it makes you realize there's more to life than hockey in so many ways.
"This is an unfortunate situation. Winning the Stanley Cup that year is beside the point. Whether we won or not, do we wish this would've been dealt with differently in some ways? Probably. We wish it could've taken it back, and it never happened, and young players never had to deal with a situation like that? Absolutely. It's just tough all around."
"It's tough," Kane said. "You have a lot of great memories from that year, and I think just learning the news and how everything went down definitely could've been handled differently, most importantly for Kyle's sake."
Kane and Toews each commented on the departures of Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac, both of whom had been with the organization for all three Stanley Cup runs. And while you understand the relationship the two of them had with the management group — particularly Kane, who lived with Bowman his rookie season — it didn't feel like this was an appropriate time to come to their defense.
"To me, Stan and Al, make any argument you want; they're not directly complicit in the activities that happened," Toews said. "It's not up to me to comment on whether they'd like to deal with it differently or not. I just know them as people, and I've had a relationship and friendship with them for a long time as being part of the Blackhawks family. People like Al and Stan have made coming to the Blackhawks for players around the league, who come here to play on this team, one of the special places to play hockey. To me, I have a ton of respect for them as people. How the situation went down, what the timeline was, what they knew, I can't really comment on that."
"I knew Stan very well," Kane said. "I know him as a great man. He did a lot for me, personally, coming into the league and just over the course of my career. I'm sure he probably would've handled things a little bit differently nowadays, but what happened, happened in the past. I think the organization made the right moves to get the Blackhawks going forward in the right steps and making sure we're trending forward."