Hockey PEI has announced that the organization has lifted its indefinite suspension against Keegan Mitchell, a player whose teammate was racially abused at a game in December, following comments on social media criticizing the league over the incident.
During the game in question, Mitchell retaliated for using a slur against his teammate by breaking his stick in the leg of the foul player, resulting in a two-game suspension.
The offending player was also suspended for two games, as the Canadian Hockey Association issued an automatic five-game suspension that only applies if officials overheard the abuse. As this was not the case, PEI Hockey issued a lighter suspension to the offending player, leading Mitchell to express his displeasure over the matter on social media, which violated the league’s social media conduct policy and earned him unlimited period suspended.
Now that suspension has been lifted. Hockey PEI admit their mistakes.
“The hockey PEI is repealing this moratorium, effective immediately,” the group said in a statement.
“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,”
Despite suspending him indefinitely just a few weeks ago, the hockey PEI has now publicly praised Mitchell’s actions in the incident, showing a big change from their previous harsh punishment.
“We applaud Keegan for speaking up for the right things and for highlighting our failures in this tragic event,” they said.
The two-game suspension for players who made anti-Asian remarks against Mitchell’s teammates also increased to five.
This isn’t the first instance of racist language in games that PEI Hockey has had to deal with this season, as 16-year-old goalkeeper Mark Connors became the subject of an anti-Black slur at a game in mid-November where fans and players were swayed. He was insulted several times on and off the ice.
Connors has said this is not the first time he has encountered racism at a PEI hockey game, having experienced it at a game three years ago.