First Nations hockey coach wants apology after players experienced racism on the ice

By | August 1, 2020

A First Nations hockey coach says his team is still waiting for an apology after players said they experienced racism at a tournament two weeks ago.

Kyle Pashe said players on his AAA team reported being called racist names on the ice at the North American Hockey Classic tournament on the weekend of July 16 to 19 in Manitoba. 

Pashe’s team, the Dakota Warriors, was playing at their home arena in Portage la Prairie when several Warriors players — who are all between the ages of 11 and 13 — came off the ice throughout the game and told Pashe at least one player on the Manitoba Junior ICE Blizzards used a slur toward them.

“The referee skated by and I was like, ‘Ref, can you address the racism that we’re experiencing?'” Pashe said. “And he’s like, ‘You know what, you’re out of here.'”

Pashe said he was ejected from the rink and later spoke to the other team’s coach, who promised he would bench the players who used the slurs — though Pashe said that didn’t happen.

The coach for the Blizzards did not respond to an interview request from CBC News by deadline.

Player suspended

A spokesperson for the hockey tournament said it has a zero-tolerance policy for racism and that it investigates all complaints vigorously.

“Although we will not comment on any specific incident, we will confirm a player was suspended during the tournament for remarks made during a game,” Mack Heisinger said in an emailed statement.

“Due to the fact that minors were involved in this incident and obvious privacy concerns, no further details or comments will be made public at this time.”

Pashe said he’s happy to hear a player was suspended for using racist slurs on the ice, but he still wants an apology for his team. (Submitted by Kyle Pashe)

The morning after the game, Pashe shared his account of what happened on Facebook. His post got nearly 1,000 reactions, 2,000 shares and 300 comments.

He said he’s happy to hear a player was suspended for using racist slurs on the ice, but he still wants an apology for his team.

“It’ll show [some] respect back to our boys,” he said. “Things can be said, but you know, we’re here to correct it and we’re here to address the issues.”

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