Canadian hockey organization ends suspension of player who stood up for teammate called anti-Asian slur

  • A hockey player used an anti-Asian slur toward an opponent on Dec. 17, leading to a two-game suspension.
  • Keegan Mitchell, who stood up for his teammate and slashed the offending player’s legs, was also reprimanded with a two-game suspension.
  • Mitchell took to social media to criticize the governing body, Hockey P.E.I., which then suspended him indefinitely.
  • On Wednesday, the organization apologized for “errors” in its management of the case, revoked Mitchell’s suspension and extended the offending player’s to five games.

Hockey P.E.I., the governing body for organized hockey in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, is attempting to correct its mishandling of an incident in which a player used an anti-Asian slur during a game last month.

The incident, which led to the suspension of the offending player, occurred during a Junior B league game between the Kensington Vipers and Sherwood Metros on Dec. 17, according to CBC News.

The player in question, aged 19, was with the Vipers and made the anti-Asian comment to someone from the opposing team.

The incident was reportedly investigated by Hockey P.E.I.’s Discipline and Ethics Committee, which then gave the player a two-game suspension.


Twenty-year-old Keegan Mitchell, of the Metros, took matters into his own hands during the game. In defense of his teammate, he slashed the offending player’s legs, which earned him a two-game suspension as well, according to Global News.

Mitchell later criticized Hockey P.E.I. for its handling of the incident. He called the offending player’s suspension “pitiful” and claimed it made the “whole community look racist.”

“If Hockey P.E.I. took these scenarios as seriously as they say they do, this player would have been suspended appropriately,” Mitchell wrote on Facebook on Jan. 5, according to the Canadian Press. “A two-game suspension for a racist slur is absolutely disgraceful.”

As a result of his criticism, Mitchell was suspended indefinitely. Mike Hammill, chair of the Discipline and Ethics Committee, said he was “not in good standing” for violating the league’s social media policy.

Days after the decision, Hockey P.E.I. is now apologizing for “errors” it made in handling the case. The organization commended Mitchell for speaking up and revoked his suspension.

“Hockey P.E.I. is repealing this suspension effective immediately. As an organization and as individuals, we need to take a stand against racism and help make the hockey environment a safe and welcoming place for everyone,” it said on Wednesday.

Hockey P.E.I. also extended the offending player’s two-game suspension to five games. “We acknowledge the initial error in judgment and express our deepest apologies to the victim,” the organization added.

The offending player was reportedly remorseful of his actions. Mitchell, on the other hand, welcomed the organization’s decision.

“I hope that moving forward Hockey P.E.I. will continue to implement the correct penalization for situations like this. Racism has no place in the game and I will continue to advocate for that,” he said in a statement to CBC News.

The player who was called the slur also spoke out through a written statement to CBC News through his teammate Mitchell.

“This situation is unfortunate. Sadly, it’s something I’ve become almost accustomed to over the years. But I would also like to point out that not all hockey players should be painted with the same brush because it was actually my teammates and other hockey players that proved to me that this behaviour is most definitely not OK,” the player told CBC.

“I just hope no one else has to experience any discrimination regarding race — which may be way too much to ask for, but if they ever do, I hope people will stand up to them and hold them accountable.” 

Featured Image via CBC News

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