The Chicago Blackhawks have suspended assistant coach Marc Crawford until Jan. 2, 2020 after conducting an investigation into allegations of misconduct in previous coaching positions, the team announced Monday.
"Through our review, we confirmed that Marc proactively sought professional counseling to work to improve and become a better communicator, person and coach. We learned that Marc began counseling in 2010 and he has continued therapy on a regular basis since," the team said in a statement.
"We have determined that Marc will remain suspended from team activities until January 2, 2020, at which time he will resume his assistant coaching duties, subject to his continued compliance with his contractual obligations and team expectations. In addition, he will continue with his counseling moving forward."
Crawford has been away from the team since early December after former NHL forward Sean Avery told the New York Post that Crawford kicked him after he was whistled for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty when he played for Crawford with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2006–07 season. A year ago, former NHL defenseman Brent Spoel alleged Crawford used similar physical violence on him.
"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 behavior," Crawford said in a statement.
"I got into coaching to help people, and to think that my actions in any way caused harm to even one player fills me with tremendous regret and disappointment in myself. I used unacceptable language and conduct toward players in hopes of motivating them, and, sometimes went too far. As I deeply regret this behavior, I have worked hard over the last decade to improve both myself and my coaching style."
The issue with Crawford comes after Calgary coach Bill Peters resigned following accusations he directed racist slurs at a Nigerian-born player with one of Chicago's minor league teams a decade ago. Other players claimed Peters kicked and punched players behind the bench during his recent time with Carolina.
Akim Aliu said Peters ''dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn't like my choice of music.''
The 58-year-old Crawford joined Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton's staff in June. He was the interim head coach for Ottawa at the end of last season. He was also previously the head coach for Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas, leading the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 1996.