TORONTO — The NHL Players’ Association board of directors has voted for an independent investigation into the union’s handling of sexual assault allegations made by Kyle Beach in 2010.
Executive Director Don Fehr during a phone call earlier this week recommended engaging outside consultants 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 for it.
Players in recent days have expressed concerns about the way the NHLPA is handling Beach’s allegations, even though he was not technically a member because he had never played in an NHL game. An investigation commissioned by the Chicago Blackhawks found that a Beach confidant contacted the NHLPA, but nothing came of it.
“I know I reported every detail to a person at the NHLPA, who I came in contact with afterward,” Beach said during his interview on TSN in Canada last week, his first since identifying himself as John Doe. “I believe that two different people have talked to Don Fehr. And that he turns his back on the players when his only 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 the boss.”
Fehr signed as an NHLPA adviser in the summer of 2010 after Aldrich resigned rather than face a Blackhawks investigation. Fehr was named NHLPA director in December of that year.
In a statement last week, Fehr said the person Beach spoke to was a program doctor with the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, which, while confidential, should have led to further action due to its gravity.
“The fact that it didn’t happen was a serious failure,” Fehr said. “There is no doubt that the system has not supported him in his time of need, and we are part of that system.”