Kennedy says Blackhawks scandal an example of how "systemic response" must change

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Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy says he thinks the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal is an example of how an organization's "systemic response" needs to change.

Reached today in Lucky Lake, Sask., Kennedy says hockey needs to get to a point where winning at all costs "isn't the No. 1 priority."

A report this week detailed how senior leaders of the NHL team badly mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted Kyle Beach during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2010.

Beach told TSN that he felt "alone and dark" in the days following the alleged sexual assault and is only now beginning the healing process.

Kennedy, who played for 10 years in the NHL, is a co-founder of the Respect Group organization, an online provider of prevention education related to bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

He has been a leading voice for sexual abuse victims following his own experience being abused by his coach, Graham James, for five years during his time as a junior hockey player.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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