Panthers dismiss Mike Kitchen after reported allegation of kicking player
Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen won't return to the club next season, the team announced Tuesday.

The reason wasn't specified, but TSN's Frank Seravalli reports the veteran coach's dismissal comes after he allegedly kicked a Panthers player on the bench during a game this season.

The alleged incident occurred in the third period of Florida’s win in Minnesota in January after an unidentified player threw a water bottle on the bench, soaking Kitchen, according to Seravalli's sources.

"This certainly wasn’t a friendly tap of encouragement," the source said. "There’s no place for anything like that in the game."

Former Panthers general manager Dale Tallon and head coach Joel Quenneville were notified of the incident after the game, but no disciplinary action took place.

Kitchen remained behind the bench for the season's duration leading up to the pause but opted out of traveling to the bubble with the Panthers for their qualifying-round series versus the New York Islanders.

Earlier in September, the NHL and NHLPA announced it will launch a hotline, run by a third party, to allow those working in the game to report "unethical behavior and misconduct."

The idea was first proposed in December after a series of incidents involving coaches surfaced, including former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan saying then-head coach Bill Peters - who was dismissed by the Calgary Flames earlier this season for past racial and physical abuse of players - kicked him in the back during a game when they were together in Carolina.

Along with Kitchen's dismissal, newly-minted Panthers GM Bill Zito announced Rick Dudley and Paul Fenton joined the club as senior advisors, while Gregory Campbell, Blake Geoffrion, and P.J. Fenton were also added to the front office.

Panthers dismiss Mike Kitchen after reported allegation of kicking player
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