Chicago Blackhawks put Crawford on leave

Updated 12/2/2019 10:49 PM

The Blackhawks announced that assistant coach Marc Crawford will be away from the team while the organization investigates abuse allegations by Sean Avery and Brent Sopel.

"He kicked me after a too-many-men-on-the-ice call I took," Avery told the New York Post's Larry Brooks. "He didn't have me serve it, we got scored on, and he let me have it."


Avery, who was playing with the Los Angeles Kings, said the incident occurred on Dec. 23, 2006. After J.P. Dumont gave the Predators a 6-0 lead, Crawford approached Avery on the bench and allegedly kicked him.

"You know how I stand at the end of the bench?" said Avery, who scored 90 goals in 580 games and retired after the 2011-12 season. "He came down and gave me a (butt) kick that left a mark."

Crawford joined the Blackhawks last off-season. He was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks for 6½ seasons, as well as the Kings (2006-08) and Dallas Stars (2009-11). He was the interim coach for Ottawa after the Senators fired Guy Boucher in March.

Sopel spent four full years playing for Crawford in Vancouver from 2000-04.

"He kicked me, he choked me, he grabbed the back of my jersey and pulled me back," Sopel told the Spittin Chiclets podcast a year ago. "He attacked guys personally."

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Sopel, who played 154 games for the Hawks from 2007-10, later added: "I probably played close to 500 games of my career for him, so as much as I hated him, for whatever reason, there was something he liked about me."

The Hawks released a statement that read in part: "Marc Crawford will be away from the team during this time and the organization will have no further comment until completion of the review."

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said it was an organizational decision to put Crawford on leave.

"I understand the reason for the review," Colliton said. "I can only speak for my time with Marc. He's been excellent. Really enjoyed that. He's added a lot to our group and our staff and our players. So I'll leave it at that."

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