A peewee hockey player has been suspended by the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association after multiple reports of racism surfaced this week.
An 11-year-old defenceman was targeted during a team outing for being Jewish, said his mother who is also the team’s manager.
“We all went to an Oil Kings’ game on Friday and on the bus, the goalie of our team called my son a “f****** Jew,” she said, adding this player later told her son that Nazis killed Jews.
She did not want her name published in order to protect her children.
This incident came to her attention after the parents of two unrelated children contacted her.
“Two parents came to me and said their sons came home in tears because (my son) had been treated so badly on the bus and they were so upset about it,” she said.
She asked her son about the incident and he confirmed the allegations.
During the team’s Sunday practice, the same player asked her son to “go away” and later threatened to kill him if he didn’t comply.
“Not only has he made these racial, really anti-Semitic comments to my son, now he’s threatening to kill him,” she said.
She said her sons have never experienced anti-Semitism and said she has never heard this kind of language being used in minor hockey.
“These kids are old enough now that they know that these words are bad and they know what they’re doing,” she said.
A second player from the same team, an 11-year-old biracial forward, told his parents this week that the same goalie targeted him at the beginning of the month.
The goalie told him “Your mom should go back to Africa where she belongs.”
His mom, from South Africa, said she is appalled that comments like this are expressed in society.
“He was definitely ashamed and disturbed by the remarks,” his father said.
He detailed many instances of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the goalie, adding some parents are considering boycotting the team if this player is not removed.
“Some of the players and the parents of those players don’t feel comfortable with their children going on the ice with this child on the ice anymore,” he said.
Both parents contacted the league’s peewee director, Michael Tymko, in hopes of prompting an investigation.
League president Dave Bell said Tuesday via e-mail that an investigation is underway.
“(The league) was notified yesterday afternoon of the incident in question and based on a review of the information we received, the decision was made to suspend the player pending further investigation and a meeting with the parent,” he said, adding two league executives will attend the meeting.
He would not comment on whether there have been prior complaints filed against the player, and said no further comments will be provided.
Both sets of parents of the targeted players said they had not been informed by the league about the decision.
The mother of the Jewish player said although she wants the goalie to be punished, she also wants him to learn the impact his language has on others.
“I never want my son to ever be on his team again. I want this kid punished and held accountable for his actions,” she said. “What a great opportunity to teach this child some kind of tolerance.”
After she reported the incident to the league, she contacted the Edmonton Jewish Community Centre, which she said is prepared to pursue the matter further.
The father of the biracial forward said he wants this player suspended from the league for the rest of the season and banned from further involvement in minor hockey.
This incident comes just weeks after an Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League player from Lethbridge shouted a racial slur at a St. Albert player during a game at Akinsdale Arena.
That league claims to have a zero-tolerance stance on racism, but did not launch an investigation.
League officials and Lethbridge coaching staff denied the use of a racial slur, but later said the matter had been handled internally. Neither party would comment on what action, if any, had been taken.
In late October, a player from Leduc was suspended for 12 games by that same league for uttering racist language on the ice.