Editor’s note: This article mentions and discusses sexual assault.
Many hockey fans were taken aback after hearing former Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw’s comments on a recent episode of Chris Nilan’s Raw Knuckles podcast.
About an hour into the interview, Nilan asked Shaw about the Blackhawks’ handling of the sexual assault allegations put forward by his former teammate and roommate Kyle Beach in 2021.
“I have nothing bad to say about Kyle but it’s a shame something like this had to go that far when it could’ve been nipped in the bud pretty quick, from upper management and HR; it should have nothing to do with the players and the coaching staff,” Shaw said. “As a 20-year-old, I would’ve never put myself in the situation Kyle was in.”
Back in 2021, during an interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead, Beach identified himself as one of the victims of former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich, who was alleged to have committed sexual assault during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup-winning season.
“Obviously, I don’t know what was going on with Kyle,” Shaw added. “But he put himself in a bad situation.”
Unsurprisingly, the public reaction to Shaw’s comments has not been favourable, with many accusing Shaw of victim blaming.
Looks like Andrew Shaw will spend the rest of the decade trying to get his skate out of his mouth.
What an incredibly stupid, insensitive thing to say. And it's not like he didn't have time to think about it.
Don't blame the victim, Andrew. Simple.
— Jack Todd (@jacktodd46) May 25, 2023
I can't fathom how you have a former teammate share their story about being sexually abused and it being covered up by the Hawks for a decade and your reaction is to blame them and not anyone in the organization
Andrew Shaw is everything wrong with hockey culture in a nut shell
— Dude Where's Makar (@joelthesakic) May 24, 2023
I think it would be best for everyone if Andrew Shaw just fades back into irrelevancy.
— x – Ashley 🌻 (@smasha23) May 25, 2023
What a disgusting statement from Andrew Shaw. Victim blaming is just appalling. https://t.co/75mQJIX7QH
— Wally Mazurek (@WallMaz35) May 24, 2023
Shaw also defended former Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, who resigned from his NHL position after reports emerged of him staying quiet and waiting until the playoffs were finished before allowing team officials to act on the Aldrich allegations.
“It is a shame. To me, he’s the greatest coach of all time,” Shaw told Nilan. “If he doesn’t come back to coach for that reason, I mean, that’s a huge loss for the NHL.”
Quenneville has said he never knew of Beach’s allegations, but according to an independent report into the NHLPA’s conduct, he was at the meeting. Quenneville is set to meet with Gary Bettman this month to try and convince the commissioner that he should be allowed to coach in the league again.
Aldrich ultimately resigned a few weeks after the Blackhawks won the 2010 championship. He was allowed to participate in all team celebrations and even had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Over the course of 10 NHL seasons, Shaw played in 544 games with the Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens. He won the Stanley Cup with Chicago twice within that decade in 2013 and 2015.
Despite being drafted 11th overall in 2008, Beach remained with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford until 2013. He never played an NHL game and is currently playing in the third league in Germany.