B.C. junior hockey commentator removed mid-broadcast, banned over racist comments

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A colour commentator was removed from air and has been banned from future broadcasts after racist comments about a player during a BCHL game on Friday. – Apr 23, 2022

A colour commentator with the junior-level B.C. Hockey League was removed midway through a game on Friday after making racist comments about a player on air.

The comments came during the second period of a BCHL playoff game between the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Langley Rivermen.

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During a stop in play, commentator Bruce MacDonald could be heard questioning whether Rivermen forward Owen Kim could speak English.

Play-by-play broadcaster Evan Hammond immediately responded, “that’s too far.”

MacDonald apologized at the first stoppage of the third period, and Hammond also apologized during the first stoppage of play in the third period.

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Reaction was swift. The Bulldogs removed MacDonald from the broadcast and released a statement apologizing and saying he was banned from future broadcasts.

Bulldogs president David Michaud told Global News it was good that MacDonald apologized, but that it wasn’t enough.

“Whenever you find yourself in situations like this, the best thing to do is shine a light on it,” Michaud said.

“We hung a 70-foot banner in our arena that says racism has no place in hockey. And so when I hear comments like that being made, you know, there is no decision to be made. Bruce can’t be a part of our organization anymore.”

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Michaud said he also went to Langley’s dressing room after the game to personally apologize to Kim.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday, MacDonald said he had apologized to the Rivermen organization, and was trying to reach out to Kim personally.

“No one should be made to feel that way and I take full responsibility for my racist words,” MacDonald wrote.

“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused Owen Kim, his family and anyone else who was affected by what I said.”

The BCHL is apologizing to fans and viewers hurt by the comments.

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Spokesperson Jesse Adamson said he hopes the league’s actions, which include banning MacDonald from any future BCHL broadcasts, show the league has zero-tolerance for derogatory comments, be they racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise.

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“One of the pillars of our league is player safety, that’s player safety on or off the ice, that’s where we step in and we see our role, that’s why we felt compelled to to take immediate action,” Adamson said.

“A player in our league, a kid that just turned 17 years old, should not be subjected to language like that and treatment like that whether it’s on the ice or off the ice.”

Adamson said the league has been in touch with Kim’s family and hoped to speak with him at a game on Saturday.

Radio station 93.3 The Peak, which carried the game live, also issued an apology.

“(MacDonald’s) comments were extremely offensive, inappropriate and have no place on our radio station,” the station said.

“Racism has no place in hockey. Racism has no place on our radio stations nor in our company,” it added.

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Global News is seeking comment from Kim and representatives for the Langley Rivermen.

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