B.C. minor hockey associations will be taking steps to ensure hockey rinks are safe and inclusive.
The move follows a BC Hockey investigation into the alleged use of a racial slur by a Salmon Arm player directed at a Kamloops player during a Feb. 23 Bantam Tier 3 playoff game in Sicamous.
A written statement received Tuesday from BC Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko states education packages will be made available prior to the 2018/19 season targeted at parents, players, officials and administrators.
“Our findings, while inconclusive, do not indicate that the allegation is false,” says Petrachenko. “We are simply unable to ascertain which player allegedly made the remark. This is an issue BC Hockey takes very seriously and it is felt that further education on the issue will be of benefit to our participants.”
While unhappy with the findings, Sandy Horner, mother of the Kamloops player, Ty, said her intent in speaking publicly about the incident wasn’t to punish, but to educate and raise awareness of racism in the sport.
“I am more than happy, and there are other parents of minority kids who are more than happy, to help them create something like that,” said Horner.
In his statement, Petrachenko explains the investigation process included interviews by the presidents of the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association and the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association and, according to their reports, neither organization was able to “identify any coach or any other player on the ice who heard the alleged remark.
“During the game, when the officials were made aware of the alleged slur, they asked the Kamloops bench to identify the player from the opposing team who was alleged to have uttered the slur and a player was not able to be identified at that time,” says Petrachenko. “The official approached the Salmon Arm team to relay the allegation. At that point, the Salmon Arm coach confronted his team, asking who/if anyone made the remark. No player came forward.”
Horner said it was not her son, but a teammate who heard a Salmon Arm player use the “n-word” and reported it to the Kamloops coach.
“Neither of the boys were asked about what went on other than the official asking my son to identify the player and my son did identify the player and actually both boys told who it was…,” said Horner of the investigation.
Regardless, Horner believes speaking up about the incident has raised awareness among the minor hockey community.
“A lot of people have said to me, I didn’t know that this still happens in 2018,” said Horner. “Here, let’s make it even more controversial, I say… that’s your white advantage that you can think that doesn’t happen in 2018, and their eyes have been opened to it. And that was our whole point in going public, to open eyes and educate.”
Following the incident, Horner said her son’s team made it to game three of the championships and he is now into spring hockey and had a fantastic opening tournament.
“They brought home gold in the Kamloops tournament and they’re off to Calgary in two weekends,” said Horner.