Hockey PEI apologizes for handling of on-ice racism incident
Hockey PEI is apologizing for the way it handled an act of racism between two teams in December.
“We take ownership of the fact that this situation should have been handled better, and will use this as a learning experience while continuing to make the game accessible, inclusive and safe for any individual that participates,” said Hockey PEI.
During a Junior B game between the Sherwood Metros and Kensington Vipers on Dec. 17, 2021, Keegan Mitchell, a player with the Sherwood Metros, said an opposing player made an anti-Asian comment to one of his teammates. Mitchell was later suspended for two games for slashing that player with a stick. Hockey PEI then decided to suspend him indefinitely for violating its social media policy after the player criticized officials for their response to the racial slur online.
According to Mitchell the player on the opposing team who made the racist remark also received a two game suspension.
In a news release on Wednesday, Hockey PEI admitted that suspension was inadequate and that the incident has highlighted that its inclusivity and anti-harassment guidelines for officials, teams, players and their families do not go far enough to protect those that they should.
"Within our existing rules, Hockey PEI issued a suspension to the player who used the racist remark, however, this suspension was not proportionate to the act that was committed and has been increased to five games," said Hockey PEI.
"We acknowledge the initial error in judgement and express our deepest apologies to the victim."
Mitchell’s suspension has been repealed effective immediately, added Hockey PEI.
"As an organization and as individuals, we need to take a stand against racism and help make the hockey environment a safe and welcoming place for everyone," said Hockey PEI.
"We commend Keegan for speaking up for what was right and shining a spotlight on our missteps around this tragic incident."
Hockey PEI says it is not only committed to changing its guidelines, but the culture as well.
"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," said Hockey PEI.
“Hockey PEI applauds both teams and the game officials for adhering to our protocols to ensure this incident was properly documented and reported to Hockey PEI.”