Following recent allegations of racism in minor hockey in the Outaouais region, a team in Gatineau, Que., suspended six of its players while the provincial governing body called off weekend games.
The Intrepid of Gatineau issued a press release on Friday in response to the allegations by apologizing to two U15 AAA players and their families “following deplorable incidents on and off the ice.”
The team also announced, after conducting its own investigation, that six players would be suspended over the allegations.
Anthony Allain Samake and one of his teammates from The Intrepid of Gatineau The U15 AAA team had previously denounced incidents of racial slurs.
In addition to the six player suspensions, the team says all players on the team will also complete a discrimination education and awareness course.
“We regret the impact they had on the two young players targeted by the racist gestures and comments,” Intrepide president Michel André said in a statement, adding that those involved are all minors.
“We must provide our young athletes with organized sports activities that take place in a healthy, safe and discrimination-free environment. We are determined to eliminate discriminatory behavior or comments towards players, coaches or officials or any other person.
Hockey Quebec cancels weekend games
Also on Friday, Hockey Quebec’s board of directors issued its own press release calling for suspensions for all parties involved in racial abuse.
In a statement, the council asked The Intrepid of Gatineau “to suspend anyone implicated in the allegations until the Complaints Officer’s investigations are complete.”
The governing body is also canceling the team’s final two games of the season, scheduled for this weekend, in a coordinated decision with the Quebec Hockey League of Excellence.
Hockey Quebec also wants “those involved in events that concern other U15 BB teams” to be suspended until investigations are concluded.
Two players in this league – David Godwin of Aylmer sailboats and Blesson Ethan Citegetse of Hill Wolves — were among area hockey players who recently said they were racially abused this season.
“Hockey Quebec reiterates the importance of fighting against any act of racism, intimidation or harassment within our teams. No gesture should be tolerated and all the actors involved have a responsibility,” the organization wrote on Friday.
Hockey Quebec President Yve Sigouin reiterated “any racist behavior is unacceptable in hockey and in our society. It is very important to act immediately.”
“It is essential to protect the alleged victims by taking immediate action,” Sigouin said in a French statement.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.