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News / Northwest

Police report sheds light on Avalanche star Nichushkin’s early departure from Seattle

By Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times
Published: April 28, 2023, 7:29am

SEATTLE — Seattle police say that a “severely intoxicated” woman who later had to be taken to a hospital was found in the Seattle hotel room of Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin on Saturday, around the time he vanished without explanation from the team’s playoff series against the Kraken.

Team officials said Nichushkin left town before the team’s game against the Kraken that night but did not say why, prompting speculation throughout the hockey world. The Avalanche said this week that Nichushkin’s departure was not a legal matter, but they have declined to provide further information or say whether he will play for them again this postseason.

The Kraken and Avalanche play Game 6 of their series Friday night at Climate Pledge Arena. The Kraken lead the series 3-2 and can eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions with one more victory.

A police report, released to The Seattle Times after a public records request, states that a patrol car was sent to the Four Seasons Hotel downtown to assist with a behavioral crisis call on Saturday and found a 28-year-old woman in an ambulance. According to the report, an ambulance attendant told police that Avalanche team physician Dr. Bradley Changstrom had more information.

Changstrom told police that team employees who went to check on Nichushkin in his hotel room found the woman “in the room, heavily intoxicated,” from an unidentified substance, according to the report. “He believed that she was too intoxicated to have left the hotel in a ride share or cab service,” so Changstrom called 911, the report states.

Changstrom told police the woman hit him, but he did not want to press charges, according to the report.

According to the report, the woman, who was taken to Virginia Mason Medical Center for observation, told police she was from Russia but born in Ukraine and “should never have come to the United States and that some guy took her passport and that he was a bad person.”

The report does not state if the woman, who the report said had no fixed address, was intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.

The report does say the woman was detained “emergently” and taken to the medical center “for being a danger to others due to her assaultive behavior and gravely disabled for being so intoxicated to a point that she is unable to care for herself out in public.”

Denver Police Lt. Todd Fuller — one of two police officers described by the report as traveling with the Avalanche for security purposes — is said, in the Seattle police report, to have stated no criminal activity took place in the hotel room beyond the woman being heavily intoxicated. Sports teams often use former or current police officers to handle security for them.

Nichushkin, a 6-4, 210-pound winger, had 17 goals and 30 assists this season.

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