Hall of Famer Paul Coffey was recently suspended by the Greater Toronto Hockey League for using a "discriminatory slur," according to The Hockey News.
THN.com reported Wednesday that Coffey, who coaches his son Blake's Toronto Marlboros midget 'AAA' team, was involved in a verbal confrontation last Friday during their playoff game against the Mississauga Senators.
The hockey publication added that Coffey was originally assessed a gross misconduct penalty for a discriminatory slur and was handed a three-game suspension after an automatic investigation by the GTHL. Coffey was not behind the bench with his team for their playoff game on Tuesday night.
The GTHL would not confirm that Coffey was suspended, as it's not league policy to disclose its suspensions. However, the league did confirm that the altercation happened and was not considered too serious. "From what I understand, the two opposing coaches went at each other near the end of the game," GTHL President John Gardner told The Toronto Sun on Wednesday.
"People do and say crazy things at this time of year, it's the playoffs. I think it has been blown out of proportion.
"Paul Coffey is a good coach who has done nothing wrong since being involved in this league. But let's face it, hockey is an emotional game and people sometimes say things they don't mean."
Neither the Marlies nor Coffey have commented about the incident or the decision, but an official from Mississauga did tell the The Hockey News that the Senators lobbied the GTHL to be lenient, sharing the same sentiment that the situation was being blown out of proportion.
"Obviously there has to be punishment, regardless of who is involved," Gardner added. "But in my opinion, I would say this was a minor incident."
Coffey, 52, played for 21 seasons in the NHL, winning four Stanley Cups and three Norris trophies as the league's best defenceman. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.
Files from The Hockey News and The Toronto Sun were used for this report.