Gatineau, Que. minor hockey players suspended, games cancelled after racism allegations
A Gatineau, Que. hockey team has suspended six players and Hockey Quebec has cancelled its final two games of the season after allegations of racism.
A news release from the Intrépide de Gatineau said after a rigorous investigation, six U15 AAA players will be suspended from all team activities for the rest of the season.
Those suspensions come “following deplorable incidents on and off the ice during training sessions or during games” targeting two players, the statement said.
“We deplore the incidents that have occurred and we regret the impact they have had on the two young players targeted by the racist gestures and remarks,” Intrépide Gatineau president Michel André said in a statement in French
“We are determined to eliminate discriminatory behavior or remarks towards players, coaches or officials or any other persons. We won't tolerate them, on or off the ice.”
Hockey Quebec is cancelling a Gatineau minor hockey team’s two games after allegations of racism.
In a statement Friday, Hockey Quebec said it has decided to cancel the team’s final two games of the season, in concert with the Ligue de Hockey d’Excellence du Quebec.
Hockey Quebec also asked the organization to suspend anyone involved in the allegations until an investigation by the league’s complaint officer is completed. And they are also asking any other teams in the Outaouais region to “suspend those on other U15 BB teams” until the investigation is complete.
“Any racist behavior is totally unacceptable in hockey and in our society,” Hockey Quebec board of directors chairman Yves Sigouin said in a French statement.
“It is therefore very important to take these allegations seriously and act immediately. Ongoing investigations will get to the bottom of things, but it is essential to protect the alleged victims by taking immediate action.”
The statement from the team said all players will take part in an education program with regard to all forms of discrimination. It also plans to introduce a clear zero-tolerance policy, including consequences for anyone who can be identified to make discriminatory remarks.
Last week, Gatineau minor hockey player David Godwin, 14, spoke out about being a target of racist abuse on the ice. Other players have also spoken out about facing racist discrimination.
"I’m happy that they found the courage to say it out loud and that something is getting done. Something is being done right now," Godwin's mother, Vicky Deselliers said.
Godwin plays for a different team, and the family complained several times.
"I knew that David was not the only one going through this," Deselliers said.
She hopes they will learn from this mistake.
"Even if they’re racist or not, the other kid will take it that way. And they need to learn that their words are heavy. They’re heavy words on another kids shoulders."
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Dave Charbonneau.