Blackhawks Coach Marc Crawford on Leave Amid Abuse Allegations - NBC Chicago
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Blackhawks Coach Marc Crawford on Leave Amid Abuse Allegations

Several former players allege that Crawford physically abused them during his stints as an NHL head coach

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    Blackhawks Coach Marc Crawford on Leave Amid Abuse Allegations
    NHLI via Getty Images
    VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 20: Head coach Marc Crawford of the Ottawa Senators looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 20, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n

    Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford has been placed on leave after several former players accused him of violent outbursts.

    In an interview with the New York Post, former NHL player Sean Avery said that Crawford kicked him so hard during a game that he left a bruise on his backside, but defended the coach on Twitter, saying that he was a “demanding coach” who would actually fight for his players.

    In a statement Monday, the Blackhawks announced that Crawford will remain away from the team during the investigation.

    “The Blackhawks will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford based on the recent allegations that have been made regarding his conduct with another organization,” the team said. “Marc Crawford will be away from the team during this time and the organization will have no further comment until completion of the review.”

    Crawford was hired by the Blackhawks earlier this year to serve on Jeremy Colliton’s staff. He has served as a head coach for five different NHL teams, including lengthy stints in Colorado and Vancouver.

    Several other former NHL players, including Patrick O’Sullivan, said that Crawford kicked them during games. According to the Chicago Tribune, former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel said that Crawford “kicked and choked” him during the pair’s stint with the Vancouver Canucks.

    There is no timeline for the conclusion of the investigation, or for a determination on Crawford’s future with the team.

    The allegations are just the latest to be made against NHL coaches in recent weeks. Former Blackhawks prospect Akim Aliu accused former Rockford IceHogs head coach Bill Peters of hurling racial slurs at him during the 2008-09 season, and several other former players accused Peters of physical abuse on the bench.

    Peters ultimately resigned his position as the head coach of the Calgary Flames.

    Allegations have also been levied against former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, who was fired by the team in November. Former Red Wings player Johan Franzen called Babcock the “worst (person)” he had ever met, and Chris Chelios said during an interview that Babcock verbally abused Franzen, causing the former forward to have a “nervous breakdown” during his time with the Red Wings.

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