The Associated Press reports the former NHL player, coach and general manager released a statement through NBC Sports on Saturday saying: “I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”
An NBC Sports spokesman said it was Milbury’s decision to leave and he remains employed by the network.
The comment was made during Thursday’s game between the Islanders and Capitals in Toronto during a discussion about the environment in the bubble. The postseason is being staged entirely in access-limited arenas and hotels in Toronto and Edmonton.
“If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regard to — if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” play-by-play announcer John Forslund said.
Milbury responded, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”
NBC Sports said it was disappointed and addressed the situation with Milbury, 68. The league said it condemned the “insensitive and insulting” comment that “did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Milbury apologized in a statement: “It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”