Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (left) addressed the Kyle Beach story Tuesday. | AP Photos
“[I want to] make this a better and safer place so that there isn’t another Kyle Beach,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Tuesday.
In his first news conference during the fallout of the Blackhawks’ sexual assault scandal, Jets general manager and former Hawks assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff apologized to Kyle Beach for the Hawks’ 2010 inaction.
“What Kyle went through is unacceptable and intolerable,” Cheveldayoff told reporters in Winnipeg on Tuesday. “Kyle was failed by a system that should’ve helped him, but did not. I am sorry that my own assumptions about that system were clearly not good enough.”
Cheveldayoff is the only participant in the Hawks’ now-infamous May 2010 meeting (in which Beach’s alleged assault was discussed) who remains employed by an NHL team, having been cleared of discipline by commissioner Gary Bettman.
Cheveldayoff clarified Tuesday he was pulled into the meeting late and thought the incident being discussed was “along the lines of harassment, [like] inappropriate texts, unwanted advances,” not sexual assault. He left the meeting expecting it would nonetheless be investigated by higher-ranking Hawks executives.
He also said he recently talked to former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, a longtime leading voice for abuse victims in hockey.
“I am fortunate that I have an opportunity to be someone that still has a chance to make a change in the game,” Cheveldayoff said. “[I want to] to help grow and learn and try to make this a better and safer place so that there isn’t another Kyle Beach.”
Patrick Kane’s comments last week after general manager Stan Bowman’s resignation and Beach’s public step forward were criticized for his defense of Bowman, whom he called a “great man” who “did a lot for me personally.”
After his return to play Monday, however, Kane went out of his way to apologize.
“I feel bad about the last time I talked,” he said. “Obviously, I put my personal experience with management ahead of the way Kyle was treated by them.
“[I] don’t want to diminish or overshadow anything that Kyle went through with our organization. Listen, it takes incredible courage and pride for him to come forward and deal with what he’s dealt with. We’re all thinking about him.”
Settlement talks begin
Hawks lawyers met with Susan Loggans, Kyle Beach’s lawyer, for about an hour Tuesday to begin settlement talks regarding the still-pending lawsuit. Loggans described the meeting as “respectful and cordial” in a statement to the Sun-Times.
“It was decided that an opportunity may exist to move forward,” Loggans added. “However, both parties will confer with their clients and meet again in the near future. No resolution occurred today, but a positive [dialogue] has begun.”
The Hawks have requested using a third-party mediator and pausing court filings for 60 days to keep negotiations progressing forward.
Hossa’s night postponed
In a joint decision between the Hawks and Marian Hossa, Hossa’s “legacy night” at the United Center — originally scheduled for next Tuesday against the Penguins — has been postponed.
“Everyone agreed that this is an important time for our organization to reflect rather than celebrate,” the Hawks said in a statement.
The Hawks on Tuesday signed prospect defenseman Louis Crevier to a three-year entry-level contract with an $851,000 salary cap hit.
Crevier, a towering 6-8 defensive defenseman who stuck around longer than expected in training camp in September, is currently playing his fourth year of junior hockey in Quebec, so his contract won’t officially begin until next season.
A former seventh-round pick, he’s one of several later-round Hawks selections from the 2020 draft who have significantly increased their stock over the past year. Fifth-rounder Isaak Phillips is already in the NHL and third-rounder Wyatt Kaiser has become a star at Minnesota-Duluth.