Jets GM Cheveldayoff says system 'failed' Kyle Beach after alleged sexual assault

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Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff listens to questions at a news conference about sexual abuse allegations made in 2010 regarding the Chicago NHL team on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.  (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff listens to questions at a news conference about sexual abuse allegations made in 2010 regarding the Chicago NHL team on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Winnipeg Jets' general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said he's sorry about what happened to young Chicago hockey prospect Kyle Beach, in his first public comments since the league announced it wouldn't discipline him over his former team's mishandling of sexual assault allegations against a former video coach.

"No one should ever have to go through what he went through," Cheveldayoff said at a news conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"Kyle was failed by a system that should have helped him but did not. I am sorry that my assumptions about that system were clearly not good enough."

Following a meeting between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Cheveldayoff on Friday, the league said its investigation found the Jets GM was "not responsible for improper decisions" made by Chicago management in connection with Brad Aldrich.

The former Chicago video coach allegedly sexually assaulted Beach during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2010.

WATCH | Kevin Cheveldayoff's full news conference:

A report commissioned by the Chicago team in response to two lawsuits found that the team failed to act for three weeks after leadership — including Cheveldayoff, who was the assistant GM at the time — discussed the allegations at a meeting on May 23, 2010.

At the time of that meeting, which Cheveldayoff said was held to discuss "harassment allegations," the Jets' GM said he didn't know the full extent of what had happened.

"I left that meeting believing that the allegations would be dealt with by those above me," he said. "Three weeks later, upon learning that the individual was no longer with the organization, I further assumed that the situation had been addressed."

Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press
Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press

GM, chairman vow action

During the often-emotional news conference that lasted more than an hour, Cheveldayoff and Jets owner Mark Chipman vowed to take action to prevent future assaults.

Speaking before Cheveldayoff, Chipman choked up as he said that the issue of sexual abuse was one that had affected people close to him.

"I need Kyle to know how very, very sorry I am and how much I admire his courage," he said.

Chipman also defended his team's general manager, saying that had he known the truth about what happened to Beach, "the Kevin Cheveldayoff that I know would have acted and would have done whatever it took to make sure that Kyle received incredible levels of support."

WATCH | Bettman discusses Cheveldayoff's 'minor' role in Chicago:

In its release, the NHL said Cheveldayoff's participation at the meeting was "extremely limited in scope and substance," and noted that most people didn't initially recall his presence.

The league says Cheveldayoff, who has been the GM of the Jets since the team relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011, was the lowest-ranked official in the room and "essentially an observer to the discussion of possible next steps."

WATCH | Chicago reporter discusses NHL's decision not to discipline Jets GM:

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