Hockey Quebec launching independent investigation into racism allegations involving Gatineau, Que. team
Hockey Quebec is launching an independent investigation into allegations of racism involving a minor hockey team in Gatineau, Que.
Six players on the u15 AAA Intrepide de Gatineau team were suspended from all team activities last spring following allegations of racism targeting two players. The team's final two games were cancelled.
In a French media release, Hockey Quebec said Thursday that several complaints concerning allegations of racism involving the Intrepide de Gatineau were filed with the Complaints Officer, but the complainant process couldn't be completed.
However, the organization says an independent investigation is being recommended in light of information collected by the Complaints Officer.
"As several elements reported during the process provided for in the Integrity Protection Policy require further investigation, an independent investigation is necessary in order to shed full light on the situation," Integrity Protection Complaints Officer Vicky Poirier said in a statement.
Independent investigator Jules Bernier will submit a final report to Hockey Quebec, including recommendations to sanction any forms of mistreatment and prevent incidents in the future.
"The ultimate goal is to create a culture of respect where the well-being of the athlete is the priority," Hockey Quebec said in a statement. "The Complaints Officer will monitor the implementation of these recommendations."
Hockey Quebec says the six suspended players will be permitted to return to the ice, once they complete the "Respect and Sport" online training course.
In April, the Intrepide de Gatineau said the players were suspended, "following deplorable incidents on and off the ice during training, sessions or during games" targeting two players, a 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.
The team said all players would take part in an education program with regard to all forms of discrimination and it plans to introduce a zero-tolerance policy, including consequences of anyone who can be identified to make discriminatory remarks.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Michael Woods