A former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor urges the NHL to do more and provide more services to players to report sexual abuse concerns.
Sheldon Kennedy commented on reports of sexual abuse by an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 after completing an investigation.
The investigation found that the situation had been mishandled and the team was fined $ 2 million by the NHL.
Kennedy believes that third party programming must be available so that players and viewers can freely speak about their concerns.
He said that there is a player support program within the NHL that helps players with a variety of issues, but noted that there is no third-party hotline that players can access that is not part of the team.
“If we keep these kinds of problems and keep the call center or hotline within the organizations, there is a reluctance for anyone to get in touch because it’s such a code of silence if you are allowed to. We know the best Results are achieved when “This safe place or hotline is outside the organization.”
Kennedy said he hoped the NHL and every team in the league can learn from this incident and will do everything possible to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
“This is a chance to get it right and learn from it and understand what was wrong and how it happened and how we’re going to be better to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the league,” he said. “How are we going to train each team? How are we going to create a safe place for each team, for the players, and for everyone within the organization to pre-solve and resolve these issues?”
Kennedy added that the way this issue was dealt with in 2010 is archaic and now these situations cannot be swept under the rug and need to be addressed.
“We have to be open. I think it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being honest, being transparent and doing everything possible to communicate our plan, admitting that we could have been better and” We should have been better and will do everything we can to get better. “
The Blackhawks hired Jenner & Block to conduct what they call an independent review in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise: one by a player identified as John Doe for alleged sexual assault by then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 and another by one former student Aldrich convicted of assault in Michigan.
-With files from The Associated Press