Before I get into writing this I just want to extend my thoughts to Kyle Beach and his family for everything that they have been through. I am sorry that everyone from Chicago to NHL leadership that was in place to protect you throughout this ordeal failed you so terribly.
Monday was a new low in NHL history as Gary Bettman opened himself and the league up for even further public scrutiny when discussing the heinous actions by Brad Aldrich. The league already looks terrible due to the fact that Bettman decided to fine the Blackhawks only two million dollars for failing to report Aldrich to the authorities and keeping this issues under wraps for 10 years. A two million dollar fine for an organization worth over a billion dollars and Bettman and the league felt that fine would be sufficient. However, if you improperly workout a draft eligible player or circumvent the cap the league will strike hard at the organization by taking draft picks in addition to fines.
Not to mention the league allowed Joel Quenneville to coach one final game last Wednesday night after the Jenner and Block report became public. The report put Quenneville in the room with upper Hawks management. The same meeting Quenneville denied being involved in when the Blackhawks brass decided to not do anything to support Kyle Beach. They, Quenneville included decided that winning was more important. Bettman noted on Monday that he didn’t want Quenneville to think that Bettman had already “prejudged him” which is a statement that absolutely blew my mind when reading it.
The blame for this situation obviously doesn’t just sit squarely on Gary Bettman and the NHL. While they shoulder a heavy amount of the blame especially considering they discredited the actions previously including most recently when the heat was turned by Rick Westhead. The NHLPA and Donald Fehr are just as negligent if not moreso than the NHL and.
The NHLPA unbelievably turned their back on Beach after they had found out about his situation and did absolutely zero to help, which again goes against what the NHLPA is supposed to do. Once Fehr and the PA found out I find it extremely hard to believe that Bettman and the league were unaware of the situation and still nothing was done. This is absolutely sickening and despicable.
So many hockey fans have always believed that the NHL is an “old boys club” and this horrible situation proves that point even more. Bettman has done a lot of good things for the league, most notably expanding the growth of the league into non-traditional hockey markets and getting the league back up and running during a global pandemic.
All of that good however becomes tossed to the back of ones mind because of his and the league’s slow and awful reaction to a terrible human situation. Bettman’s job as commissioner is protect the league and the league’s shield but the biggest issue is, when Kyle Beach needed help nobody was there to protect him. In any other walk of life, with a situation like this everyone would be out of a job or even in jail. Lawyers would be absolutely salivating at the thought of litigation in this situation.
Many fans have complained for years that Bettman needs to go but now him and the rest of NHL/PA leadership in Bill Daly, Donald Fehr, and Colin Campbell must go. Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville are now unemployed and the Commissioner and company should be joining them on that line.
Monday’s press conference was utterly embarrassing as a lifelong hockey fan and it should be the final nail in the coffin for Bettman. Many like to believe that any kind of attention is positive attention and unfortunately it seems like the NHL believes it too and it’s time for this league and everyone in it to get a major wake up call.Embed from Getty Images