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Former NHL coach Marc Crawford, now the head coach of the ZSC Lions in Zurich, has been suspended one game while under investigation by the Swiss national league after yelling a homophobic remark at a referee, the league confirmed to Sportsnet on Friday.
In a video posted online with a portion of the broadcast, in the last seconds of a league game Tuesday night and his ZSC Lions trailing EHC Biel by a goal, a clearly agitated Crawford shouts “Check the clock!” before yelling the insult at the referees.
After seeing it on television, national league director Denis Vaucher asked that the incident be investigated, telling Swiss site Blick (via Google translate), “I actually saw this. Marc Crawford crossed a red line with these discriminatory remarks.”
The translated statement provided by the league states that Crawford was suspended for one game “as a precautionary measure for verbally abusing the referees.” Crawford will miss ZSC’s game on Saturday.
In an email to Sportsnet, a national league spokesman wrote, “an investigation has been launched and the case is now on the desk of the single judge, who will decide whether and how Crawford will be punished for his comments.” No timeline for a decision was given.
The league spokesman said the investigation is being undertaken because, “As a league, we obviously are against any form of offensive and discriminating speech.”
When contacted Friday to obtain a comment from Crawford, a ZSC Lions spokesperson responded with a lengthy statement that reads, in part, “Marc Crawford should not have used that word. Homophobia has no place at the ZSC Lions and also with Marc Crawford.” The statement adds that Crawford has apologized to the referee, the head of officiating, the CEO of the league, the president of the league, the ZSC Lions players and management. The team statement added that the fact the referee did not check the clock was “in our eyes, also a mistake.”
Crawford, 62, was not penalized during the game.
Crawford has been head coach of the ZSC Lions since late December, after the team fired coach Rikard Gronborg. Crawford previously coached the Lions from 2012-16, where he won a title in 2014. He also previously coached the Colorado Avalanche, where he won a Stanley Cup in 1996, the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators, whom he coached for 18 games in 2018-19.