Blackhawks Reviewing Abuse Allegations Against Assistant Coach
The Blackhawks said they will be "conducting a thorough review" of assistant coach Marc Crawford in the wake of allegations that he physically abused players in previous NHL coaching roles, according to Ben Pope of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Crawford will be "away from the team for the time being, a hiatus that started" with yesterday's 4-0 loss to the Blues at United Center. Among the allegations, former NHLer Sean Avery on Sunday said that while playing for the Kings in January '06, Crawford "kicked him on the bench" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/3). A source said of Crawford, "He's gone. There's no way they can keep him in this climate." THE ATHLETIC's Mark Lazerus noted another allegation against Crawford comes from former NHLer Patrick O'Sullivan, who in his '16 book "alleges the coach verbally and physically abused him" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/2).
STUCK IN A RUT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jashvina Shah writes hockey culture will "never change." One "can't pretend hockey will magically stop being racist." One "can't pretend it will magically stop being abusive," nor can one "pretend it will magically become an environment where players and staff can speak out without fearing for their careers." Changing a culture, "especially one so ingrained, is not easy." That "doesn't mean it can't be done." It "just means it takes constant, consistent effort." Hockey is "more than just culture; it's a system." That players are coming forward now "should be applauded." But the NHLPA's "desire for players to reveal allegations privately instead of publicly shows a troubling lack of transparency" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/3).
DEVELOPING STORY: In Toronto, Bruce Arthur reports former NHLer Akim Aliu -- who alleges that recently resigned Flames coach Bill Peters directed a racial slur toward him -- is set to "meet with the NHL" today. A source said that Aliu was "disappointed" by Flames GM Brad Treliving's press conference on Friday because it "reflected hockey culture's habit of being reactive instead of proactive." Both Aliu and the league are "very sensitive about the meeting" (TORONTO STAR, 12/3).