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Couture, Sharks Still Have Faith in NHLPA

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Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Credit: Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture gave his thoughts yesterday in response to the National Hockey League Player Association’s decision in voting in favor of commissioning an independent investigative review of how the Association handled the 2010 allegations of sexual assault made by Kyle Beach.

The investigation will look into Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA, and the extent of his knowledge of the incident and his alleged shortcomings in the Kyle Beach case. According to the 107-page report, Fehr was contacted twice about allegations connected to Aldrich, including by a Beach confidant. Fehr told investigators he couldn’t recall either conversation, but did not deny that they had occurred.

As the Sharks player representative in the NHLPA, Couture didn’t offer much into the meeting with the rest of the NHLPA in its decision, but did speak briefly about the situation when asked if his teammates’ faith in the NHLPA was wavering.

“I didn’t see that,” Couture said. “I haven’t heard that from our team.”

It’s clear the San Jose Sharks still have trust in the NHLPA following the recent events, in comparison to the rest of the league.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds gave a greater thought-provoking statement in regards to the NHLPA’s handling of Beach allegations in 2010, saying “guys are afraid to speak out because of repercussions.”

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner, an important voice fighting for equality in the league, also passionately called out for change on Tuesday, following his team’s 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs.

“People need to be held accountable. That’s part of healing, getting justice,” Lehner said. “That’s what we all want. Whatever that process is, I hope we do the right thing. It’s not just in hockey or all sports, it’s society in general. It’s very difficult for anyone in that position with sexual assault to come out, it’s hard to talk about, especially if you feel like people won’t believe you. We need to be more open, more supportive.”

In May, Beach brought forward a lawsuit against the Chicago Blackhawks that alleged the team ignored the player and a teammate’s disclosure of then video coach Brad Aldrich’s sexual assault in 2010. Brad Aldrich is also the son of San Jose Sharks equipment manager Mike Aldrich.

Sharks in Jenner & Block Report

The Blackhawks commissioned an independent report by Jenner & Block LLP, which substantiated Beach’s claims against the club.

Following the release of the report, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman stepped down and Joel Quenneville, head coach of the team in 2010, resigned October 28th as head coach of the Florida Panthers after a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

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