‘Sincere Regret’: Hockey PEI Admits to Mishandling Racist Incident at Game | The Canadian News

The governing body for organized hockey in Prince Edward Island has admitted to mishandling its reaction to a racist act at a hockey game last month.

Hockey PEI issued a statement Wednesday saying the penalty imposed on the offending player _ a two-game suspension _ was too light and reversed the suspension of another player, Keegan Mitchell, who had used social media to criticize officials for their response. to racial slur.

“Hockey PEI fundamentally believes that racism and discrimination in any form have no place in the game, and we acknowledge and express our sincere regret for the errors that were made in our handling of the incident,” the league said in the statement.

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Mitchell has said that during a Junior B game on December 17, a player from the opposing Kensington Vipers directed an anti-Asian comment towards one of Mitchell’s teammates with the Sherwood Meters.

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Later in the game, Mitchell confronted the offending player and slashed him across the legs, a move that earned Mitchell a two-game suspension, the same penalty imposed on the Vipers player for uttering the insult.

Earlier this month, the league suspended Mitchell indefinitely for suggesting online that the Vipers player deserved a harsher penalty, saying a two-game suspension for a racist slur was “absolutely disgraceful.”

“If Hockey PEI had taken these scenarios as seriously as they claim, this player would have been appropriately suspended.”

Mitchell said in a Facebook post on January 5. “This unfortunate suspension is making our entire community look racist.”

At the time, the league said his comments violated its social media policy.

On Wednesday, PEI Hockey changed course. The league decided the Vipers player’s suspension would be increased to five games, saying the original penalty was “not proportionate” to the offensive act.

The league said it had to acknowledge its “error in judgment” and issued an apology to the target of the racist comment.

“This incident made us realize that our inclusion and anti-harassment guidelines … do not go far enough to protect those who should,” the league said. “We commend Keegan for standing up for what was right and highlighting our missteps surrounding this tragic incident.”

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Mitchell issued a brief statement Wednesday, saying he was glad he was able to make a difference.

“As I said before, racism has no place in the game and I will continue to advocate for that,” he wrote in a Facebook post, adding that he was looking forward to playing for his team again. “I recognize that the fight against racism does not stop here, there is much more work to be done.”

Hockey PEI confirmed that it would conduct a review of what happened.

“Hockey PEI has a zero-tolerance policy for racism, and the comments that were made on December 17 have no place in hockey or our community,” the league said in its statement.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 12, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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