“I got his back”: Former Canucks defenceman Brent Sopel reaches out to Kyle Beach

Nov 2 2021, 9:15 pm

Editor’s note: This article mentions and discusses sexual assault.

Former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Brent Sopel finally got a chance to chat with Kyle Beach.

Sopel joined Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal on the CHEK show Donnie and Dhali to discuss his conversation with Beach, who revealed himself earlier this week as “John Doe” in the Brad Aldrich abuse scandal that occurred in the spring of 2010 in the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

“Yesterday is the first time I’ve spoken to Kyle since I first saw him 11 years ago,” Sopel said on the show. “It was great to hear his voice. [I’m] just there to reiterate, I got his back and support him and his family through this long, painful journey of healing.”

Sopel was a member of the Blackhawks, while Beach, a 2008 first-round draft pick, was called up to the team to practice, though he never played a game. Despite the two not having a close relationship, Sopel and teammate Nick Boynton were two of the first former Blackhawks to state that players on the team were aware of the abuse occurring.

Sopel said that he interacted with Aldrich, the team’s video coach, “every single day” in team meetings and felt it was necessary to come forward about what he’d heard.

Sopel spent seven years with the Canucks over two stints. He also played for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens over his 659-game NHL career.

“It was pretty good,” Sopel added of his chat with Beach. “I had him crying at times, laughing at times. He’s got a long journey ahead of him, but it was a great conversation.”

He also said that he didn’t think there was merit to the idea that certain members of Chicago’s executive, alluding to current Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, should be exonerated simply due to their lower level of authority.

On Monday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman referred to Cheveldayoff as “an assistant with fairly limited responsibilities” and did not levy any penalties against the Winnipeg GM.

“Let’s not talk about what position they were in… they didn’t take action,” Sopel said. “Knowing this, rightfully, could have been one of their kids, and it’s heartbreaking. Let’s answer why and how this happened so that it never happens to another individual in this world.”

The full video of Sopel’s interview is below:

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