WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former New Jersey Devils player and current high school hockey coach is facing criminal charges for allegedly assaulting one of his own players.
As CBS2's Ilana Gold reported, Jim Dowd has stepped down as head coach of the Manasquan/Point Pleasant Beach High School hockey team while police investigate allegations that have parents and students in disbelief.
"I find it surprising," said parent Anthony Esdeile.
On Saturday, a parent from the team filed a complaint against Dowd, charging assault. The parent claims he kicked their 16-year-old in the back during a game at Jersey Shore High School last Wednesday night.
"I could never see him doing this," said Esdeile.
CBS2 went to Dowd's home to get his side of the story, but he shut the door. His attorney did not return calls for comment.
Another player on the team didn't want to comment either.
Rachel Herman's cousin has played under Dowd all season.
"(What's everyone saying about the accusations?) That they're ridiculous," the high school student said.
CBS2 also went to the listed address for the family pressing charges against Dowd, but no one answered the door.
One parent at the school said she's known them for years.
"I don't know what would have happened. It had to be something drastic that would have happened. It wouldn't be just something like 'come on, get out there,'" said Samantha Schaeffer.
Manasquan School Superintendent Frank Kasyan said he had a meeting with Dowd and the coach claimed the allegations weren't true.
Kasyan said he believes Dowd, and released a statement.
"Up until this point he has done nothing but good for our school district," the statement said. "We are hoping for a speedy resolution to this unfortunate situation. We look forward to Coach Dowd being exonerated and returning to the 2015 hockey season."
"I'm very much hoping that they aren't true. I'm a teacher, I'm a mother of four children and my kids are athletes," said parent Traci Galvan.
For now, the former NHL star's fate will be in the hands of a judge.
Dowd played with the Devils from 1991-96, and then again during the 2006-07 season. He also played for the Canucks, the Islanders, the Flames, the Oilers, the Wild, the Canadiens, the Avalanche, the Blackhawks and the Flyers.
The Brick native last appeared in an NHL game in 2008.
Kasyan said this is the first year Dowd has coached for the district.
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