The mother of a high school hockey player who was sexually abused by former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2013 — the man also responsible for sexually abusing former NHL first-round pick Kyle Beach in 2010 — is understandably angry and disappointed with the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman for his comments regarding her son this past week.
When asked by TSN's Rick Westhead whether the league would cover the family's counselling costs, Bettman responded by saying that he needs "more information." on Tuesday, Westhead reported that the league has denied the request.
Update: The NHL has informed a lawyer for "John Doe 2" that the league will not cover costs of counselling/therapy for him and his family.
An NHL employee wrote in an email the league will leave that matter for the Blackhawks to manage, JD2's lawyer said.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) November 9, 2021
Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2014 for a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge stemming from the acts he perpetrated onto "John Doe 2," as the victim is known in court documents. This incident occurred three years after Beach was sexually abused by Aldrich, an incident that the Blackhawks organization covered up and dismissed, according to the findings of an independent investigation carried out by law firm Jenner & Block.
The Blackhawks also allowed Aldrich to walk away on his own terms after the 2010 Stanley Cup run without ever reporting the incident, paving the way for Aldrich to coach collegiate and high-school age kids in the subsequent years leading up to the 2013 assault.
Bettman's remarks didn't sit well with John Doe 2's mother, who spoke on the subject with Westhead in a powerful and emotional interview on Monday.
"I think [Bettman] needs a new job, that he needs to retire," she said. “I don’t think he has empathy for kids, or even young adults. And if he needs more information, I got a whole folder full of it here for him he can read. I’ve got the court documents of the conviction. If he needs more information to help my son, I have it."
She went on to plead with the league to assist her son, specifically with health insurance to help cover the costs of therapy and mental health counselling for issues stemming for the assault.
"Maybe they'll figure out a way to get therapy for my son and health insurance. My son is working right now, but he can't afford health insurance. He tries to make ends meet with the job he has, and health insurance would help get him therapy to get through his social anxiety and his PTSD from this."
Westhead reports that the NHL is leaving it up to the Blackhawks to cover the costs of counselling and therapy.
John Doe 2's mother also spoke about Beach coming forward, and how she responded to hearing his story.
"I just wanted to reach through that TV screen and hold him like I did my son that day," she said, through tears. "I just wanted to hold him and I just wanted to tell him that everything is going to be okay, it's got to be okay, and I'm here for him, and we don't fault him at all.
"He's not at fault for this at all, not at all. He's a survivor like my son. Yes, they were victims but they're surviving now. And he is so courageous and we admire him more than he even knows. And I just wish I could've hugged him. I was just sitting here by myself watching it and I just wanted to hold him like I held my son. And tell him I'm sorry"
The legal team for the Blackhawks and John Doe 2 are currently in settlement talks.
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