Tonight, the Abbotsford Canucks face off against the visiting Ontario Reign for the first of a back-to-back weekend.
But first, let’s quickly discuss the hockey stuff that actually matters.
Kyle Beach and the Blackhawks
In case you missed it, Jenner & Block released their full 107-page investigative report, delivered to the Chicago Blackhawks, regarding their organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations against then video coach Brad Aldrich.
If you haven’t had the chance to read it, I urge you to. Trigger warning/Content warning, the report contains graphic depictions of multiple instances of sexual assault.
The report itself details a grossly incompetent and callous head office staff that prioritized winning the Stanley Cup and their image over the health and safety of their players.
In summary, five members of the Blackhawks senior staff, including Stan Bowman, Kevin Cheveldayoff, John McDonough, Al MacIsaac, and head coach Joel Quenneville, were informed of the sexual assault by the team’s mental health coach Jim Gray. Gray informed them that Brad Aldrich had pressured the 20-year-old Beach for sex and threatened Beach’s career if he did not comply.
After learning what had transpired between Aldrich and Beach, the senior staff questioned whether it was the right time to investigate the matter. Several interviewees pointed out that Joel Quenneville prioritized maintaining team chemistry, and others highlighted McDonough’s desire to avoid negative publicity amid the team’s 2010 playoff run.
After being informed of the sexual assault, the senior leaders sat on the information for three weeks.
They did nothing until June 14th, when John McDonough finally informed the Blackhawks Director of Human Resources.
During those three weeks, Aldrich additionally sexually assaulted a male intern while engaging with all team activities and celebrations in the presence of Beach.
Even after the Director of Human Resources was informed of the allegations, the team chose not to investigate Aldrich. Instead, Aldrich was allowed to resign, under threat of an investigation into Beach’s accusations.
Aldrich had his name engraved on the Cup and celebrated his day by taking it to a local high school.
Three years later, Aldrich was arrested and pleaded guilty to 4th-degree sexual assault of a minor in Houghton, MI.
Kyle Beach did everything right. He told all of the right people, and they all consequently failed him without remorse.
Upon the report’s release, many noticed that the editors had forgotten to anonymize details of John Doe’s identity. The widespread doxing attempts contributed to Kyle Beach revealing himself as the John Doe of the story.
Kyle Beach, John Doe in the Blackhawks investigation, talks to @rwesthead about how his NHL experience 'changed forever,’ his reaction to the findings, and support for other victims of sexual assault.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 27, 2021
If you have not watched it yet, I urge you to watch Beach’s tearful and heartbreaking interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead.
Kyle Beach conducted the most honest and brave interview I think I’ll ever watch in my life for twenty-five minutes.
This particular question rocked me to my core.
Beach is the victim. A survivor of Aldrich’s heinous and reprehensible actions, and here he was on national TV, baring his soul, sharing his truth, his trauma at the hands of Aldrich and the Blackhawks organization. Here Beach was apologizing for the inaction of his superiors that caused a 16-year-old kid the same suffering.
The senior leaders, Joel Quenneville, the NHLPA led by Donald Fehr, failed to protect Beach. The old boys club that prides itself on its courage, bravery, and toughness, failed Kyle Beach because they were scared of looking bad.
In the aftermath of the Beach interview and the Jenner & Block report, Stan Bowman was allowed to resign in Chicago, Joel Quenneville was allowed to resign in Florida, and Kevin Cheveldayoff kept his duties as GM of the Winnipeg Jets.
Cheveldayoff continuing his post is a disgrace.
How can you possibly be credited as the "low man on the team's organizational chart" as the 2nd-year AGM of an NHL franchise…
They all said they knew nothing and that nothing happened in 2010
Now they don't remember Chev being there?
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) October 29, 2021
Gary Bettman’s position on Cheveldayoff’s complicity in the Blackhawks inaction is pathetic. Fireable, truly.
For those unaware, Cheveldayoff was the overseer of the AHL affiliate, Rockford Icehogs, during his time as AGM of the Blackhawks.
Akim Aliu brought up Cheveldayoff’s position as AGM during the Bill Peters dismissal fallout.
The Calgary Flames fired Peters when the post-Babcock scandal revealed he had used the N-word towards Aliu on multiple occasions. This incident occurred back in 2009-2010 when Peters was head coach of the Rockford Icehogs.
Cheveldayoff is complicit in what happened to Kyle Beach. As overseer of the Rockford Icehogs, he’d have been responsible for the Black Aces squad members.
I refuse to accept that Cheveldayoff, a two-year AGM for the Blackhawks at the time of the allegations, was the low-man on the Blackhawks organizational chart.
This summation doesn’t even get into the comically weak responses from Beach’s former teammates in Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews.
Toews going to bat for MacIsaac and Bowman after the Beach interview played on TSN is downright shocking to read and comprehend.
Toews was asked, in this question, if his opinion of Bowman and MacIsaac has changed. This was his full response: pic.twitter.com/38CW7zzmBj
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 28, 2021
Gary Bettman maintained that he has express authority to determine whether Stan Bowman or Joel Quenneville is fit to return to the NHL in any senior leader capacity. That isn’t good enough.
Crossing out Brad Aldrich’s name off the Cup isn’t good enough.
The leaders that failed Kyle Beach have yet to face real consequences for their actions.
The Canucks paid a higher penalty for Luongo’s contract than the Blackhawks will for having swept the sexual assault of one of its players under the rug.
The NHL needs to be better, and their handling of the Blackhawks investigation is not good enough.
Taylor Hall when asked by @mattyports about Kyle Beach & the Blackhawks:
"Every culture needs to keep getting better, and hockey's no different. This is a game that's a little bit of what you'd call an old boy's club. … there needs to be changes." pic.twitter.com/NYtaHZHkGM
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 29, 2021
All of this is to say that the Blackhawks’ colossal failure and dereliction of duty to protect its players is more important than the result of tonight’s AHL game between Abbotsford and Ontario.
Hockey culture needs to be changed, and every outlet must address this issue. The NHL can’t be allowed to sweep this under the rug either.
The AHL Nucks Harvest extends its love and thanks to Kyle Beach for his bravery in coming forward.
- Justin Bailey was the first AHL call-up of the season and has played two games for the NHL club as a 5v5/PK specialist.
Will Lockwood is still in a red non-contact jersey at Abby practice.
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 29, 2021
Transaction: #Canucks recall Nic Petan from Abbotsford. Matthew Highmore has been placed on injured reserve.
— Canucks PR (@CanucksPR) October 29, 2021
- Nic Petan was called up so quietly by the Canucks that I almost missed it!
- Lockwood last played in the first period of game two versus the Ontario Reign.
Karel Plasek is on late for some work with the skills coach. Still in a red non-contact jersey. pic.twitter.com/WZPCrdMRk0
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 28, 2021
- Plášek’s last shift came during the first three minutes in the first period of game three versus the Ontario Reign.
As of now, been told Danila Klimovich has been told to get a place in Abbotsford, he will not be going to junior.
Keeps impressing with his play in AHL.
Agent Dan Milstein refused to comment.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) October 29, 2021
- It looks like Klimovich has carved out a spot in the AHL! I can’t wait to watch him progress over the season.
- And I’m sure Chris Faber is also grateful that he won’t have to add “clipping QMJHL games” to his workload!
- It’s unsurprising to me that Klimovich stuck with the AHL club. For an 18-year-old kid, his offensive polish is second to none on the team.
- Though his activity away from the puck still needs work, it’s easy to forgive Klimovich for his lack of defensive polish given his age and the overwhelming dynamism to the offensive side of his game.
Full Reign projected lineup for tonight’s game in Abbotsford:
Burke – Tynan – Frk
Wagner – Turcotte – Madden
Johnson – JAD – Fagemo
Sodergran – Sutter – Dudas
Phillips – Durzi
Moverare – Grans
Gaunce – Spence
— Jared Shafran (@ShafReign) October 30, 2021
The Reign go with the same lineup they had during the Canucks opening road trip, less Kale Clague and Austin Strand.
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) October 30, 2021
- Travis Hamonic doesn’t draw into the starting lineup
- With Bailey and Petan called up to the NHL Canucks, and injuries to Lockwood and Plasek, Devante Stephens moves up to play as a forward
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- The Ontario Reign have yet to lose in regulation through five games, while the Canucks have points in their last four of five.
- Madison Bowey (#4) draws a holding penalty against Martin Frk 1:31 into the opening frame.
PP1: Di Giusseppe, Schiling, Rempal, Lukosevicius, Dries
- Lukosevicius takes a hard hit chasing the puck into the neutral zone after Ontario clears the zone
- Arturs Šilovs misplays a rim behind the net and gives Samuel Fagemo a dangerous wraparound scoring chance.
PP2: Bowey, Focht, Klimovich, Bowey, Neilsen
- PP2 is controlling well in the offensive zone but generating zero shot attempts.
- The reigning AHL hardest shot competition winner, Martin Frk, leaves the box, receives a breakaway pass, and drives through center for a massive slapshot on Šilovs.
- Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) forces Ontario out of the Canucks d-zone and attempts to chase his chip, but his chip is too far to chase, and the Canucks go offside when he tries to retreat from his chase.
- Adam Brubacher, with a dangerous cross-check at center ice, puts the Canucks on their first PK of the night.
PK1: Wouters, Stevens, Juulsen, Sautner
- Chase Wouters (#21) with a slick poke at the Canucks blue line to disrupt the Reign zone-entry and force them offside.
PK2: Dries, Di Giuseppe, Woo, Bowey
- Frk puts a shot off the bar, and Šilovs sits on it to prevent the rebound chance.
- Note to the production crew, don’t cut to the on-ice camera angle when the attacking team is cycling in the zone. Otherwise, you miss the live shot! Tsk tsk!
- Canucks kill off the Brubacher penalty.
- Canucks 1st line getting absolutely hammered by the Reign inside the d-zone
- Ontario attempts a rink-wide breakaway pass to Marty Frk, but the pass is out of reach. The referees call icing against Ontario, and the Canucks get an offensive zone faceoff.
- A ricochet off Klimovich’s stick inside the Canucks d-zone leads to a quick Ontario cycle and high shot over the net.
- Tristen Neilsen (#84) forces a turnover and capitalizes on a poor Ontario line change for an entry and shot on goal.
- Adam Brubacher (#2), with a hard one-timer off the blue line, draws a few OOH’s from the crowd.
- Maybe they were saying BOO?
- John Stevens caught holding puts the Canucks on their second penalty kill.
PK1: Dries, Di Giuseppe, Juulsen, Sautner
PK2: Woo, Brubacher, Wouters, Focht
- Wouters (#21) with a stutter step in the neutral zone that stuns Alex Turcotte and allows Wouters to steal the puck and send it deep into the Reign’s zone
- Canucks kill the Stevens penalty.
- Ontario is parking one forward on the Canucks blueline and looking for the breakaway pass, but Cameron Schilling (#5) picks off this breakaway pass.
- Danila Klimovich (#46) moving his feet and hounding the Ontario puck carriers with pressure.
- Šilovs with a huge glove-save on Ontario’s Adam Johnson after a failed breakout pass by Cameron Schilling (#5).
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-0 Canucks: With fifteen seconds left in the opening frame, Sheldon Dries (#15) opens the scoring with a gorgeous tip from the net-front on a shot by Cameron Schilling (#5) from the blue line.
- Canucks finish the period heavily out-shot fourteen to six but up on the scoreboard one-zip
- Klimovich (#46) wheels around Ontario’s Jaret Anderson-Dolan inside the offensive zone for a centering feed.
- Brief stoppage in play while the ice-crew fix a broken pane of glass.
- Ontario’s Austin Wagner draws a tripping penalty against Madison Bowey (#4), sending the Canucks to their third penalty kill of the game.
PK1: Wouters, Stevens, Juulsen, Sautner
- Chase Wouters (#21) draws a tripping penalty against Tyler Madden but also takes a diving/embellishment penalty on the play. Odd.
PK2: Di Giuseppe, Dries, Brubacher, Woo
- Canucks kill off Wouters’ penalty.
- Silovs makes another huge blocker save on a breakaway chance by T.J. Tynan.
- A miscommunication by Juulsen (#47) and Silovs leads to a ridiculously dangerous rebound opportunity for Ontario.
- Chase Wouters (#21) continues his strong game with a massive hit on Ontario’s Sean Durzi.
- Brubacher (#2) lays a massive “accidentally on purpose” hit on Ontario’s Alex Turcotte at center-ice.
- Sautner (#6) takes a rough ride along the d-zone half wall, and John Stevens (#16) steps in to drop the gloves with Ontario’s Austin Wagner.
- Madison Bowey takes his second penalty of the period and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Canucks to a four-minute PK.
PK1: Dries, Stephens, Juulsen, Sautner
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 1-1 TIE: *Jim Halpert it could only be you cake.jpeg* Tyler Madden ties things at one apiece after circling out to the high slot for a one-timer. Hard to fault Artūrs Šilovs for the game-tying goal as the Canucks have been out-shot eight to one after ten minutes.
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) with a crushing hit on Ontario’s Adam Johnson inside the offensive zone
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 2-1 Reign: Johan Sodergran with a gorgeous solo drive on goal for the backhand tiebreaker-goal. Trent Cull won’t like those stationary feet of Focht’s one bit. I’ll repeat myself, hard to fault Artūrs Šilovs for the game-tying goal as the Canucks have been out-shot six to one after ten minutes.
- A few shifts later, Sodergran draws a tripping penalty against Cameron Schilling to put the Canucks on their sixth penalty kill of the night.
- Canucks kill off the Schilling penalty, but at what cost.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-2 Tie: Sheldon Dries (#15) scores his second of the night from an impossible angle to tie the game up at two. Abbotsford getting absolutely shelled in shots, twenty-eight to nine.
- Sheldon Dries is looking for the hat-trick as he rips a one-timer on Vilalta with less than two minutes to go in the period.
- Right off the opening faceoff, Danila Klimovich (#46) flips the puck into the crowd and does a cute little recoil when he accidentally hits someone in the crowd.
- A backchecking Carson Focht (#19) forces a turnover with a poke check to enable an Abbotsford d-zone exit.
- Sean Durzi turns on the jets to race around Sheldon Rempal (#56) for a deflected shot over the netting.
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 3-2 Reign: The Ontario barrage continues. After pressing heavily through the opening five minutes, a shot from Sean Durzi squeaks past Šilovs to give Ontario the lead.
- Ethan Keppen (#92) leads a two-on-one with Chase Wouters (#21) before testing Matthew Vilalta with a hard wrister off the blocker.
- Phil Di Giuseppe (#34) goes cross-ice to Sheldon Rempal (#56) for a wrist-shot off Vilalta’s blocker.
- Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) capitalizes on a loose puck in the offensive zone and drives on goal for a scoring chance.
- Johan Sodergran clips Šilovs in the head after cutting towards the goal for a scoring chance.
- Scary moments as the Canucks trainer comes out to check on Šilovs, who eventually gets up under his own power and resumes playing for Abbotsford.
- Less than ten in the final frame, and Ontario is relentless with their attack.
- Ethan Keppen (#92) with a speedy drive down the left-wing
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 4-2 Reign: A collision in the neutral zone between Madison Bowey (#4) and Cameron Schilling (#5) leads to Ontario’s fourth goal on their 35th shot on net. Bowey was incredibly low to get up on the play, allowing Ontario’s Brett Sutter to walk down the right-wing for a two-on-one rush. Sutter cleanly beats Šilovs, glove side, with a laser of a wrist shot.
- A late chance from the fourth line
- Carson Focht takes a cross-checking penalty with less than three minutes remaining in the third to put the Canucks on their seventh penalty kill.
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 5-2 Reign: Sean Durzi lays the hammer on the final nail of the Canucks’ coffin as the Ontario Reign capitalize on the powerplay. Jaret Anderson-Dolan provides the screen Šilovs doesn’t even know where the shot came from
- Time winds down with some late pressure from Abbotsford, but it’s too little too late.
Ontario Reign def. Abbotsford 5-2
- Tonight, the Canucks were quite overmatched by their young, speedy opposition. The puck activity by the Reign’s forward groups continuously gave the Canucks forwards fits. Ontario drew five penalties against the Canucks through their rush entries and their overwhelming offensive zone cycling. They could not keep up. “I think we could’ve been a little bit smarter too. We got ourselves in penalty trouble; give them some momentum for sure. I thought we had a good push there in the second, and then I think they came out and had a pretty good push in the third.”
- Artūrs Šilovs was lights out for this team as he faced barrage after barrage of shots from the Reign. A member of the media/scouting gallery was heard multiple times exclaiming how. “this game was a shooting gallery!” Šilovs stood tall through the majority of the game. Trent Cull said post-game, “Arti, in his young time playing for me, has done nothing but show really well. He looks like a great young prospect for the team, and I thought he played really well again tonight.”
- I liked Chase Wouters’ game tonight. He looked assertive on the penalty kill and was incredibly disruptive at 5v5 with his physicality and stick work.
- Overall, I thought the Canucks fourth line was the only thing going for them tonight. Cull wasn’t as enthused by their play, but he did offer some neutered praise. “I think they’re doing as best as they can for young guys playing in the American Hockey League. It’s not an easy way to kind of transform into. But, in the small roles that they played, they got a chance there in the third. We’re going to have to work on some d-zone coverage with them and make sure they have their assignments and that when they can become reliable hockey players, then they’re going to get more ice time.”
- Sheldon Dries stood out for the two goals-for, he’s become a very effective utility piece for Abbotsford. Tonight, Dries was used heavily on the PK, powerplay, and at 5-on-5.
‘Sheldon’s a very reliable player. Plays in all situation. Quietly goes about his job. He’s been a threat for us the whole start of the year and good for him for getting two.” Trent Cull on Sheldon Dries two-goal performance tonight.
- Phil Di Giuseppe is an odd case to me. In some shifts, he is completely invisible, and in others, he looks to be a clear NHL player playing against rookies.
- I thought Ashton Sautner had a pretty effective game tonight. The Canucks didn’t often break into the offensive zone to spark up a cycle, but it felt like Sautner was on the ice for it whenever they did. In the d-zone, I thought he kept pace with the Reign’s pervasive speed and had some key deflections during Ontario’s cycle that broke up dangerous plays.
- Speaking to Sautner post-game, he spoke about Ontario’s relentless pressure off of breakaways, “We talked about that as one of the things we keyed on. We knew they were a fast team overall, but they like to spread out through the neutral zone and get a guy running in line. It makes it a lot harder because if we don’t make a stop on their other players coming through the neutral zone, they’ll have a lot of speed, and that creates a lot of separation for the defenseman.”
- I asked Cull if it was frustrating to see Ontario get so many breakaway opportunities off the blue line, and he said, “that’s their shtick or their plan that they blow the zone and a guy leaves, and we knew that was going to be part of the game. But they’re a fast, effective team. That’s part of them opening up the game. We tried to counteract that a little bit. But, I thought we were [off] tonight.”
- I also asked Sautner what it was like for this game, having been split from his usual partner, Jett Woo, for the first time this season. “I try not to read into the pairings too much. I’ve had a lot of partners over the years. So you know, when you get with a new guy, you just try to develop as much chemistry and gel as quickly as possible. And to be honest, it’s just another guy. They change all the time.”
- Sautner has been with the Canucks organization since 2015-16 after signing out of the WHL. He spent the bulk of the 2019-20 season playing on his off side. However, playing on his off side didn’t bother him. “Yeah, it’s nice. I mean, for me, I honestly don’t mind playing both. I played the other side in junior as well. I think we’ve got a good balance of righties and lefties right now.”
- Cull had no update on Madison Bowey’s status after his knee-on-knee collision with Cameron Schilling late in the third period.
- Found myself sharing the elevator to the post-game media availability with a group of the player’s spouses. It was very surreal. They unsarcastically seemed very nice.
At 10:30 PM, with a 50-minute drive ahead of me, I couldn’t summon the energy to stop for Popeye’s on the way home.
Someday folks, someday.
Cody’s Three Stars
- Artūrs Šilovs
- Artūrs Šilovs
- Artūrs Šilovs
HM: Sheldon Dries and Chase Wouters
Next Up on the Docket
Abbotsford will need to hit the reset button because they’re back at it again tomorrow night against Ontario, before a double-header road trip versus the Stockton Heat.
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