Three days after being arrested under the suspicion of drunken driving with his 12-year-old son as a passenger, Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor voluntarily entered the NHL/NHL Players' Association Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health Program.
Sydor flew to Malibu, Calif., on Sunday and admitted himself into an inpatient treatment center where he will spend at least the next 30 days and possibly longer, his attorney said Monday.
Sydor, 43, was arrested Thursday in Fridley while driving his son to a hockey game. His blood alcohol content was revealed to be .30 percent, almost four times the legal limit. He has been charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of second-degree driving while impaired with two aggravating factors — the endangerment of his child and having a blood alcohol content of .16 or more.
"He's hurt, he's upset, he's embarrassed by his actions, and his family is, too," Sydor's attorney Ryan Pacyga said Monday. "Right now, it's about Darryl taking care of himself and really getting his arms around this."
Pacyga talked with a Wild lawyer on Monday and was also in contact with the league. Sydor, a former defenseman who spent 18 years in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups, remains employed by the Wild, but the team wouldn't comment Monday on Sydor's situation or whether he will return to the team after his time away.
Training camp begins Sept. 17, so Sydor still would be in treatment.
"He's upset how he's hurt others through his conduct here," Pacyga said. "He's so worried about his family and the team right now. I told him, 'You've got to take this time to work on you because without you being good with you, none of that other stuff is going to be around anyway. So have the courage to be vulnerable and have the courage to go deep inside yourself where you don't want to go.' "
Sydor told the Star Tribune last spring that he was a recovering alcoholic. He entered inpatient treatment last summer and said he maintained his sobriety all of last season. He even had tattoos put on each hand to remind him not to drink.
But Pacyga said Sydor recently relapsed because he did not continue in a recovery program beyond last summer's rehabilitation.
"Those are the people that relapse at almost a 100 percent rate," Pacyga said.
A husband and father of four, Sydor is known as a family man. Asked how it's possible then that Sydor drank so heavily that he would endanger his son, Pacyga said: "If the disease doesn't continue to go monitored with a real active recovery program, the nature of the disease is that it's progressive. We often see that with people in a relapse situation where they think they're able to manage whatever's going on and next thing they know they feel like the carpet's been pulled out from under them.
"You go into a binge and before you realize it, wanting to have two drinks turns into too many. Rigorous daily maintenance is needed in order to remain sober, and if you don't, you're in danger of a relapse at any given moment. So when he returns, I personally plan to help him get into a program of recovery with daily support. It's going to be longer journey for Darryl."
Sydor will be arraigned Oct. 12. He faces the possibility of a year in jail, but Pacyga told him to focus right now on recovery, not the legal process.
"We'll deal with that in due time," Pacyga said. "Like any alcoholic, there's that fear there's something underneath all of it that's hurting. I said, 'Get to know what that is and get to dealing with it, and that's how you'll come out a better man.' I said, 'Take this time as a break from life and be selfish.' It's not selfish because that's what his family wants him to do."