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An external review of the NHLPA and Donald Fehr’s handling of Kyle Beach’s allegations found no wrongdoing.

An investigation by the independently authorized NHL Players Association found “personal misconduct or institutional failure of policy or procedure” by chief executive Donald Fehr or others. in handling Kyle Beach’s allegations of sexual assault against then-Chicago Blackhawks coach Brad Aldrich in the 2010 video.

The review is 20 pages long, shared by NHLPA on its social media channels on Friday and was created by Toronto-based law firm Cozen O’Connor, which found a miscommunication and misunderstanding in the NHLPA’s processing Beach’s allegations, but concluded that there was no evidence of “any individual or systemic failure.”

“After a thorough examination of contemporaneous records,” Cozen O’Connor’s said in its report, “the policies and practices applicable at [players’] at that time, and the recollections of each party associated with the NHLPA or the SABH program, we were unable to identify any personal misconduct or institutional failure of Fehr’s policy or procedure, employees of the NHLPA or SABH program involved in the processing of Beach reports. “

Cozen O’Connor said the union’s review of Beach’s allegations “included a review of thousands of emails, related phone records, control of documents and policies for SABH.” [Substance Abuse and Behavioural Health] programs and the NHL Hotline, and interviews with 11 individuals. “However, both Beach and another former Blackhawks player who was negatively affected in the past declined to interview Cozen O’Connor.

Each of the NHL’s 32 player representatives received a copy of the investigation earlier this week and that group subsequently voted to make the results public.

The investigation into the union’s role and how it could better support Beach stemmed from his initial allegations that he was sexually assaulted during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs by Aldrich. Beach, 32, filed a negligence lawsuit against Chicago last summer, which was settled in December. Before that, the Blackhawks announced in October 2021 the results of an independent investigation into Beach’s allegations were made by the law firm Jenner & Block.

That report contained details regarding Fehr and his response to Beach’s allegations at the time of their convictions. The NHLPA later authorized its own investigation into Fehr’s actions.

Cozen O’Connor claimed the core disputes from the NHLPA’s view were “strongly conflicting accounts” provided by Fehr and player representative Bob Gurney surrounding the conversation they had about Beach’s allegations. and the conversation between Dr. Brian Shaw [a psychologist, and program administrator with the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program] and Beach.

According to the agency, Gurney said he called Fehr in late December 2010 after Beach told him Aldrich had been hired by USA Hockey as a video coach in connection with a tournament held later that year. Fehr was recently appointed NHLPA Executive Director, and Gurney felt he wanted to know about Beach’s concerns.

Gurney told Cozen O’Connor investigators that he described Aldrich as a “pedophile” or “sexual predator” but did not tell Fehr any details of what is believed to have happened. occurred between Beach and Aldrich.

Fehr denied to investigators any recollection of the call, as he has done since Beach’s allegations first came to light.

“Fehr, an experienced attorney, has repeatedly made the point that if Gurney describes Aldrich as a pedophile or sexual predator or asks him to contact the USA Hockey team, then he’ll remember it,” Cozen O’Connor detailed in his report. “Fehr is adamant that having been reported to him, he cannot and will not take – or agree to take – any further action without being provided with further details of the defendant’s incident. required, including whether Beach reported – or was prepared to report – the incident.”

“A full review of Fehr’s emails in the same time period” also doesn’t show any relevance to the conversation with Gurney. That extends to a further review of Fehr’s emails over the next decade that do not show any tie to Gurney. In addition, the report shows that no one who interacted daily with Fehr recounted that he had ever mentioned Gurney or Beach at the time.

One incident in the Jenner & Block report featuring Fehr involved another conversation between him and player agent Joe Resnick. In an email included in that investigation and dated April 18, 2011, Resnick told Fehr that he knew the executive had been notified of “an incident” involving Beach.

In the interview with Cozen O’Connor, Resnick “doesn’t recall receiving any response to his emails, and no response was found in our review of Fehr’s emails.” Resnick also did not repeat any follow-up conversations with Fehr.

“Fehr has admitted to us – as he did in the Jenner Report – that he received the email but had no recollection of it or contacted Resnick regarding the matter,” the report said. “Similarly, Gurney also does not recall any discussions with Fehr regarding Aldrich beyond his December 2010 call described in the Jenner Report.”

As for the conversation between Dr. Shaw and Beach about whether the U.S. Hockey Team was forewarned of the allegations surrounding Aldrich’s past actions, Cozen O’Connor found it to be an issue. subject of misinformation.

“All parties involved tried to distance themselves from these interactions with some misunderstanding,” the report states. “Gurney and Beach left their conversation and believed that someone…agreed to be responsible for USA Hockey’s contact; Dr. Shaw thinks other people, either the union or representatives of Beach, would address Beach’s concerns about USA Hockey and that he was forced to keep what Beach had told him a secret; Resnick believes he was sharing an interest in a coaching odd, bullying and inappropriate employee, but not a sex abuser.”

Cozen O’Connor concluded that given Fehr’s background as an attorney, he would have to act on serious charges if they were reported to him.

“Our conclusions,” the report continued, “are further supported by the lack of any evidence that Fehr had memorized the conversation or discussed it with anyone else affiliated with the NHLPA. , including his brother, Steven, who did not advise the NHLPA.This departure is in stark contrast to Fehr’s documented practice of regularly and promptly delegating duties to others in line with keep an eye on matters of much less importance.”

Beach has been publicly critical of Fehr’s inaction since revealing himself to be the John Doe of the case in an interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead last October.

“I reported every detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I contacted afterwards,” Beach told Westhead. “I believe two different people spoke to Don Fehr. And for him to turn his back on the players when one of his jobs is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how. maybe my leader. I don’t know.” know how he can be held accountable. If that’s what he’s going to do when a player comes up to you and tells you something, whether it’s abuse, whether it’s drugs, whatever it is, you have to have someone. play’ and they certainly don’t have mine. “

On October 28, 2021, Fehr released his own statement about the Beach challenge.

“Kyle Beach went through a terrifying experience and showed real courage in telling his story,” Fehr said in October. “Certainly the system couldn’t support him in the moment. he needs, and we’re part of that system.” about what happened to him. He’s referring to one of the show’s doctors [Dr. Brian Shaw, a psychologist, and program administrator] with NHL/NHLPA player support program. Although this program is a secret between the player and the doctors, the serious nature of this matter requires further action. The fact is that it is not a serious failure. I’m really sorry and I’m committed to making the changes to make sure that doesn’t happen again. “

https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/33746775/outside-review-nhlpa-donald-fehr-handling-kyle-beach-allegations-finds-no-wrongdoing An external review of the NHLPA and Donald Fehr’s handling of Kyle Beach’s allegations found no wrongdoing.

John Walker

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