SEATTLE — The Colorado Avalanche team physician saw a woman who was highly intoxicated when checking on Valeri Nichushkin before Game 3 of Colorado’s first-round series with Seattle, according to a Seattle Police Department Behavioral Crisis Report obtained by The Athletic.
Nichushkin’s agent, Mark Gandler, denied his client’s involvement in a text message to The Athletic.
“No one was seen in Val’s room,” he said. “These events have nothing to do with Val.”
Nichushkin has been out of the Avalanche since Saturday for what the team called “personal reasons.” Gandler repeated that statement and declined to answer whether it was Nichushkin or the Avalanche’s decision to keep him away from the team.
Nichushkin was the only Avalanche player mentioned by name in the report. The official wrote that he was not aware of any family connection between Nichushkin and the woman. He listed their relationship status as unknown.
According to the report: At 3:20 pm Pacific on Saturday, a request for assistance was called in at 99 Union Street, where the Avalanche was staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. Two Seattle police officers arrived at the hotel in response to a crisis call at 3:44 pm
An Avalanche team physician told authorities he saw the woman, who The Athletic is choosing not to recognize, when evaluating Nichushkin before the game. The doctor told officers he believed the woman was too intoxicated to leave the hotel in a rideshare or cab service, so he called 9-1-1. He said the woman assaulted him but did not want to press charges.
A Denver police lieutenant traveling with the team told Seattle police there were “no reports of any criminal interactions despite (the woman) being extremely intoxicated.”
An ambulance took the 28-year-old woman to Harborview Medical Center. He is in stable condition, according to information obtained through a public records request at the fire department. Inside the ambulance, the woman told one of the Seattle police officers that “a man took her passport and that he is a bad person.” He did not elaborate. He said he was from Russia but was born in Ukraine.
On the morning of Game 3, Bednar said Nichushkin was taking a maintenance day.
“That was the information I had at the time: it was maintenance day,” Bednar said the next day. “Then he left for personal reasons. If he’s around and can be around, then he’s available to play.”
When asked about the police report during his pregame press conference Friday, Jared Bednar said he couldn’t comment because “it’s personal reasons.” He declined to comment on whether Nichushkin or the team made the decision to leave, whether Nichushkin violated team rules or what his location was. He repeated an earlier statement that this was not a disciplinary issue. When asked why it wasn’t disciplinary, Bednar said, “Because it’s personal.”
Asked if the situation has been a distraction for the team in recent days, Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson said no.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a riot,” he said. “(He’s) just a guy we want to have in our lineup.”
Nichushkin has been in the lineup for the first two games of the series, with Colorado trailing 3-2 heading into Friday’s Game 6.
Bednar said the team is in contact with Nichushkin. There is no active police investigation into Nichushkin in connection with the incident.
An Avalanche spokesman did not comment on the incident report and said president of hockey operations Joe Sakic and general manager Chris MacFarland would not speak to the media Friday morning. The NHL Players’ Association also had no comment at this time.
Nichushkin, 28, is in the first year of an eight-year contract worth $6.125 million annually.
(Photo: Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today)