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New York Islanders React to Kyle Beach Interview

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Kyle Beach on TSN New York Islanders Reaction Anders Lee Barry Trotz

The New York Islanders voiced their support for Kyle Beach on Thursday, less than 24 hours after he revealed himself to be the former Chicago Blackhawks player who accused video coach Brad Aldrich of sexually abusing him in 2010.

Beach sat down for the emotional interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead on Wednesday evening and discussed the pain of going through the trauma, along with the pain of not being supported by the people he trusted to protect him. The interview sent shockwaves across the hockey world and the Islanders were not immune from its heartbreaking impact.

“My heart reaches out to him,” New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Any young man should not have to go through it. It does not matter if it’s the NHL, the American League, or if it’s junior, midget hockey. … whatever, all minor hockey, all that, our goal as coaches, players, staff, you just have to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We can’t fix it. We just got to make sure it does not happen again.”

New York Islanders captain Anders Lee echoed Trotz’s somber tone when the subject was broached with him following Thursday’s practice.

“I commend (Kyle Beach) greatly for speaking up about this,” Lee said. “No one should have to go through a situation like that and extremely tough. … You don’t ever want to see that kind of situation evolve into what had happened. Whatever we can do as a group, everywhere, just to make sure that these things don’t happen again.

“I think we try to create something around here where a lot of open dialogue, people can feel safe and go to one another, and that’s the kind of environment you want to have. ”

The news has rightfully been the topic of conversation inside the Islanders’ dressing room and isn’t sure to go away any time soon. On Thursday night, Joel Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers after an investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block revealed, among many other disturbing things, that Quenneville had been aware of abuse allegations by Beach and delayed handling them during his time with Chicago.

“Like everyone else, you read these things, you see them, you try to figure out what happened and you just try to do whatever you can in your circle to make sure something like this will never happen,” Lee said.

Beach, a 20-year old “Black Ace” for Chicago in 2010, alleged that he was sexually assaulted by Aldrich, who threatened his NHL future if he did not comply with the sexual acts being asked of him. According to the investigation, there was a meeting between the Blackhawks senior management to discuss the alleged sexual assault.

Aldrich resigned following the conclusion of that season, facing no discipline for his actions. In 2013, Aldrich pled guilty to having sexual contact with a former Michigan high school hockey player when the boy was 16 years old.

Stan Bowman stepped down as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this week after the report of the investigation was made public. Al McIssac, the senior vice president of hockey operations also resigned.

Quenneville had an in-person hearing with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday. Quenneville denied having prior knowledge of the abuse, but Beach said that was impossible.

Kevin Cheveldayoff, the assistant general manager of the Blackhawks and the current general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, will meet with Bettman on Friday.

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