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Marc Crawford being investigated by Chicago Blackhawks amid abuse allegations

By Ryan Peddigrew [1]

BELLEVILLE – Belleville native Marc Crawford is being investigated by the Chicago Blackhawks over allegations of abuse made against him by players he coached in the past.

Last week Sean Avery, who played under Crawford for the Los Angeles Kings in 2006-07, told the New York Post [2] in an interview that Crawford once kicked him while he was on the bench during a game.

After the Blackhawks announced Monday on Twitter that they are investigating Crawford, Patrick O’Sullivan, who also played under Crawford in Los Angeles, said in a tweet that he detailed his former coach’s abuse in his book four years ago, an autobiography co-written with Gare Joyce [3] about abuse he faced throughout his hockey career and childhood.

This all comes on the heels of a hectic month in the National Hockey League.

After the Toronto Maple Leafs let go head coach Mike Babcock, it was alleged that he had an incident with then-rookie Mitchell Marner [6] where Babcock had Marner rank players on the team in terms of their effort, and then showed the players Marner had ranked at the bottom of the list. Marner later confirmed the story.

Then Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters was accused of using racist language toward Akim Aliu [7], who played under Peters in the American Hockey League. Another of Peters’s former players, Michal Jordan, alleged that Peters was physically abusive to him [8] and other players on the bench during his time as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Following an investigation by the Flames organization, Peters was fired.

Most recently, the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League fired their head athletic trainer and equipment manager, [9] Jamie LeBlanc, for what they described as a pattern of demeaning and derogatory comments, threatening behaviour and unprofessional conduct.

The Chicago Blackhawks also announced that Crawford will be away from the team for the duration of the investigation.