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    Andover school district clears varsity hockey coaches in punishment probe

    Andover High School players banged their sticks on the ice after the national anthem before a game against Chelmsford on Jan. 25.
    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    Andover High School players banged their sticks on the ice after the national anthem before a game against Chelmsford on Jan. 25.

    Andover school district has cleared a trio of boys varsity hockey coaches of allegations they denied players food or water, concluding an internal investigation into their behavior.

    Andover High School Principal Philip Conrad said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that the district’s investigation found that the allegations were “not sustained.” Conrad said he intends to reinstate the ice hockey coaches as soon as possible if he can confirm that the state’s Department of Children and Families, which has also been probing the coaches’ behavior, has reached the same conclusion as the school district.

    In his statement, Conrad said the school has yet to receive “any communication of determination” from DCF. Conrad said he hopes to resolve the matter quickly.

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    “Unfortunately it does not appear that DCF is going to complete their investigation in accordance with the timeline originally provided to any of us by the agency,” said Conrad in a statement.

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    DCF and the district were investigating allegations that players were denied food and water as punishment for losing games. Varsity head coach Chris Kuchar and two assistant coaches were placed on leave in January after the allegations surfaced.

    DCF spokeswoman Andrea Grossman said in a statement Tuesday evening that the department “is still in the process of investigating this matter.”

    By law, details and findings of DCF investigations are confidential.

    In late January, Kuchar, through his attorney, Tom Gleason, denied the accusations that he “abused, neglected or in any way mistreated his hockey players” and labeled the allegations as false. A message left with Gleason Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

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    Kuchar is in his fourth season at Andover. Junior varsity coach Peter Loring was named Andover High’s interim varsity head coach after Kuchar was placed on leave.

    The Golden Warriors are 8-4-2 overall this season. The team is 2-1-1 since Kuchar and the two assistants were placed on leave, with their only loss being to top-ranked Central Catholic on Saturday night.

    The team plays Acton-Boxborough on Wednesday night at Nashoba Valley Olympia in Boxborough.

    Craig Larson of Globe Staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.