Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford will not be with the team until 2020.
The 58-year-old came under fire earlier this month when alleged incidents from his coaching past came to light. Most notable were stories from former players Sean Avery and Brent Sopel that involved physical and verbal abuse.
The Blackhawks announced on Monday that Crawford will be suspended from team activities until Jan. 2. At that point, he will be allowed to return behind the bench.
The decision was made following an independent legal counsel review, according to a release from the team that included statements from the organization and Crawford. He has been away from the team since this review began on Dec. 2.
“We do not condone his previous behaviour. Through our review, we confirmed that Marc proactively sought professional counselling to work to improve and become a better communicator, person and coach,” said the Blackhawks, per the release. “We believe that Marc has learned from his past actions and has committed to striving to reform himself and evolve personally and professionally over the last decade. We have experienced no incidents during Marc's coaching tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks.”
Crawford was a head coach for the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars between 1995 and 2011. Following four seasons at the helm of Zurich SC in Switzerland, he returned to the NHL as the Ottawa Senators’ associate coach at the start of the 2016-17 campaign. This is his first season in Chicago.
“Recently, allegations have resurfaced about my conduct earlier in my coaching career,” wrote Crawford, per the release. “Players like Sean Avery, Harold Druken, Patrick O'Sullivan and Brent Sopel have had the strength to publicly come forward and I am deeply sorry for hurting them. I offer my sincere apologies for my past behaviour.”
“I sincerely want to help make our game better for everyone,” he continued. “I want to encourage anyone who may have been impacted by me to reach out so that we may continue this dialogue. There is an important discussion happening in hockey right now. I am and will continue to be a part of the solution moving forward. These conversations will set the course for future generations. I commit to being sensitive to the process, and most of all, listening to individual perspectives and feelings.”
A Stanley Cup winner while the head coach for the Avalanche in 1996, Crawford joins what has seemingly become an ever-growing list of NHL coaches that have been impacted in a variety of ways over the last month for their past actions. Stories of Mike Babcock’s conduct throughout his career emerged following his firing by the Toronto Maple Leafs in November, Bill Peters resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames a few weeks ago amid allegations of racism and the Dallas Stars fired Jim Montgomery for unprofessional conduct last Tuesday.
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