MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor was jailed on drunken-driving charges Friday after authorities said he became lost trying to take his 12-year-old son to a hockey tournament and ended up apologizing repeatedly to the weeping boy.
Police pulled Sydor over around 5:15 p.m. Thursday in suburban Fridley after observing him driving erratically, according to the criminal complaint filed in Anoka County District Court. His blood-alcohol level later tested at 0.30 per cent, more than four times the legal limit, the complaint said.
Sydor, 43, was charged with two counts of second-degree drunken driving because of the aggravating factor of having a child in the car, with a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine up to $3,000.
"It gets the point of being disturbing. When you choose to drink and drive that’s one thing. But when you choose to drink and drive with your child in the car at such a high level, where you know you’re so obnoxiously impaired, that’s almost disgusting to me," Fridley Police Lt. Michael Monsrud said Friday.
Sydor remained in the county jail Friday. Online court records didn’t list a lawyer who could comment on his behalf and indicated he did not have an attorney when he made his first court appearance. Bail was set at $12,000, which Monsrud said is standard in such drunken-driving cases. He was also given the option of enrolling in an alcohol treatment program instead. His next court date was set for Oct. 12.
Sydor, from Edmonton, has been an assistant coach for the Wild for the past four seasons. He also played 18 seasons in the NHL.
"We are aware of the reports regarding Darryl Sydor. We are continuing to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time," the team said in a statement.
According to the complaint, Sydor told Officer Erik Johnson he was taking his son to a hockey tournament in Plymouth and they were lost. The boy was in the front seat and didn’t say anything but kept looking at a GPS app on the phone in his lap.
Sydor’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slow and slurred, the complaint said. He had trouble finding his driver’s license even though it was in his wallet. The officer smelled a strong odour of alcohol on Sydor’s breath.
"On several occasions, defendant stopped and told his son, ‘I’m sorry,"’ the complaint said.
The boy told Officer Zak Chlebeck they got lost on their way to a 6:30 p.m. game in Plymouth, and that his mother was in Canada visiting family.
"He was now crying and upset that his dad had been pulled over," the complaint said. The officer called the boy’s mother, Sharlene Sydor, and told her what was happening.
Chlebeck then took the boy and his gear to his game and delivered him to his coach. The mother told the officer she would fly home as soon as possible, and the mother and coach made arrangements for caring for the boy after the game.
Sydor, a defenceman, formerly played for the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lighting, Pittsburg Penguins and St. Louis Blues. He joined the Wild as an assistant in the 2011-12 season. His total of 1,291 games played ranks 18th all-time by an NHL defenceman, according to the Wild’s website. He won Stanley Cups with the Stars in 1999 and Lightning in 2004 and appeared in the 1998 and 1999 NHL All-Star games.