Avs forward Valeri Nichushkin enters Player Assistance Program

Jan 15, 2024, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm

Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is out indefinitely after entering the Player Assistance Program of the NHLPA and NHL.

He will be paid while he receives treatment and can return to the club once he’s cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.

Per a statement released through the Avalanche, Nichushkin said it was his decision to enter the program.

Nichushkin is having a huge year for Colorado, posting 42 points by netting 22 goals and adding 20 assists. He’s fourth on the team in points, trailing only Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen. The 22 goals has him tied with Rantanen, just one behind MacKinnon.

Nichushkin was out for the Avalanche’s Saturday night game in Toronto, with the club saying he was sick. Colorado skates against the Canadiens on Monday tonight in Montreal.

Last season, Nichushkin missed the team’s final five playoff games against the Kraken after an incident at a Seattle hotel. Denver Sports tracked down a police report that detailed a bizarre series of events with a severely intoxicated woman in Nichushkin’s room who needed medical attention. A 911 call also shed some more light on the situation, involving the Avalanche’s team doctor and the woman striking him.

9NEWS obtained police body camera footage of the situation. A woman who was born in Ukraine but from Russia said a “bad man” stole her passport. Seattle PD muted the audio at several key moments that could have detailed more of Nichushkin’s involvement in the ordeal.

The forward was not disciplined and returned to Colorado at the start of this season. When he met with reporters at training camp, Nichushkin declined to discuss details about what happened in Seattle.

The Avalanche are currently 28-12-3 on the season, good for 59 points and second in the Central Division, just one behind the Winnipeg Jets. They’ll continue to make a run toward the top seed in the Western Conference, but will have to do it without Nichushkin for the time being.


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