Suspensions for racial slurs hurled during minor hockey game in P.E.I. appealed

Click to play video: '5 P.E.I. hockey players suspended after racist incident' 5 P.E.I. hockey players suspended after racist incident
Five P.E.I. hockey players accused of uttering racial slurs at another player have been suspended for 25 games. The incident happened during a tournament in Charlottetown in November. But as Callum Smith reports, a second incident at the same tournament is still being investigated – Feb 11, 2022

Appeals have been launched by five minor hockey players in Prince Edward Island facing 25-game suspensions for allegedly hurling racial slurs toward a Black Nova Scotia goalie.

Mark Connors, a 16-year-old goalie for the Halifax Hawks U18 AA team, has said a group of teenagers directed the comments at him during a game in Charlottetown last November.

He said he was repeatedly called the N-word at the rink, and he said he was told by other teens at a hotel that hockey was a white man’s sport.

Wayne Connors, Mark’s father, said in an interview Friday he had received an email from Hockey PEI indicating the appeals were proceeding. The Canadian Press was able to review the email.

Read more: 5 P.E.I. minor hockey players suspended 25 games over racial slurs toward N.S. player

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The governing body didn’t reply to a request for an interview or for confirmation of the appeals.

The five players had been suspended indefinitely following the alleged incidents, before the 25-game sanction was handed down in a written decision last month.

Both Mark Connors and his father have previously stated they were satisfied by the sanction, saying they were hopeful it would deter racism at the rink.

In a 24-page ruling, a special discipline and ethics committee found Connors’s testimony that he had been taunted at the arena to be credible. Other witnesses provided testimony supporting his claim.

The Hockey PEI ethics committee noted the evidence provided by the five players was “indirect and limited” and that they appeared as a group. Most did not speak directly with the committee on video, and submissions were made on their behalf by their parents.

Read more: ‘Sincere regret’: Hockey P.E.I. admits to mishandling racist incident at game

Hockey PEI says a third-party investigator found inconclusive evidence about racist slurs uttered at Connors at the hotel, citing a lack of witnesses. The five suspended players were not linked to that incident.

Connors has received a letter of apology from P.E.I. Premier Dennis King.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2022.

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