A 'Junior B' hockey player from Prince Edward Island has been suspended indefinitely after he criticized league officials on Facebook for their handling of a racist, in-game incident.
In the Jan. 5 post, 20-year-old Keegan Mitchell criticized Hockey P.E.I.’s response, saying the perpetrator, who was handed a two-game suspension, deserved a much harsher penalty for hurling an anti-Asian slur at one of his teammates.
“For those of you who know me personally or through hockey, I am almost absolutely certain you recognize me as someone who always stands up for themselves, but more importantly for my friends and teammates,” Mitchell wrote.
Mitchell said he received the exact same penalty for a slashing call in that same game.
“If Hockey P.E.I. took these scenarios as seriously as they say they do, this player would have been suspended appropriately," he wrote. "So, my question is when is Hockey PEI going to start taking ALL racist slurs and comments on the ice into consideration for appropriate penalization? A 2 game suspension for a racist slur is absolutely disgraceful. Finally, Hockey PEI when are you going to wake up and realize that this pitiful suspension is making our whole community look racist?”
The anti-Asian incident occurred in mid-December in a game between the Kensington Vipers and Sherwood Metros, according to the CBC. After a written complaint from the victim, the author of the slur, a 19-year-old member of the Vipers, received a two-game suspension for his actions.
On Thursday, Mitchell shared a letter he received from the province's governing hockey body, notifying him of the suspension for "violating the league’s social media policy by publicly criticizing officials and Hockey P.E.I."
The letter, sent by the chair of Hockey P.E.I.’s discipline and ethics committee, Mike Hammill, reads in part that the committee found Mitchell “a member not in good standing,” meaning he is "suspended from all activities sanctioned by the governing body for hockey in the province," according to The Canadian Press.
Mitchell can now appeal his suspension, and says he plans to do that while adding he also intends on remaining vocal about the incident and racism in hockey in general.
“I’m not just going to let this go,” he said. “If I don’t ever play hockey again, that’s fine by me, because I’m going to fight this until it’s right.”
Hockey P.E.I. did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, according to CP.
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