New Hamburg hockey player suspended after calling out opposing player for allegedly using racial slur

By CityNews Kitchener Staff

Controversy has erupted in New Hamburg minor hockey following a player being suspended after retaliating to an alleged racial slur during a playoff game.

During a game on Mar. 7, Jordan Jacobs (J.J), a defenseman on the New Hamburg Junior Firebirds, told his coaches and the referees that an opposing player had called him a racial slur. J.J told them the player had said “good job Black boy” and then allegedly hurled the N-word towards him. J.J had allegedly responded back by using profanity and calling the opposing player a racist.

His mom, Patti Jacobs, said following the game a coach from the other team came over and apologized on behalf of the coaching staff. On Mar. 13, the New Hamburg Hockey Association filed a formal complaint with the league.

On Mar. 28, OMHA informed the team and J.J that both players would be suspended for seven games. Jacobs said the reason J.J was suspended was because he retaliated by swearing. Upon hearing the news, she said her son “completely broke down.”

“He was really upset,” said Jacobs. “This was his first year back to hockey, [his team] had a pretty historic year with this team and put up a phenomenal record… to be able to play in the OMHA championships was a big deal.”

She added this was the sixth time that J.J had allegedly been the target of racial slurs on the ice this season, but he didn’t speak up about it.

The decision came a day before New Hamburg was to take part in the OMHA playoff finals in Whitby from Mar. 29-31. Before the third must-win game, Jacobs said OMHA reduced J.J’s sentence from seven to three games, but New Hamburg would not move on.

“It’s really unfortunate because this being the biggest tournament of the year and more than likely would have been J.J’s last weekend in his hockey career of playing minor hockey,” said Jacobs. “He’s likely going to move on and play junior hockey next year and so this would have been the cap on his hockey career.”

Following the end of the season, Jacobs said her son still has not received a formal apology from the OMHA and would like them to take accountability for the decision. She added that by them changing the ruling is them “trying to put a band-aid on it and sweep it under the rug.”

“He’s a very clean and respectful player,” said Jacobs. “We’re teaching our children to use their words and speak up for yourself, and my kid does that and he gets a worse penalty than had he used his actions and his fists.”

The minimum suspension for a first time offense for fighting under Ontario Hockey Federation rules is two games. The OHF is the governing body of the OMHA.

“It’s not the right message to be sending to our kids.”

The OMHA provided the following statement to CityNews 570:

Ontario Minor Hockey is committed to providing a safe, fun, inclusive and respectful environment for all participants.

We have zero tolerance for discriminatory slurs of any kind, and we are consistent and vigilant in the application of Hockey Canada Rule 11.4 – Maltreatment.

We have also been consistent throughout the year in discouraging any form of retaliation from our participants that involves derogatory or disrespectful behaviour or language.

After completing a thorough review of the specifics of this particular incident and to ensure the rules were applied appropriately, the player who made a discriminatory slur has been handed a seven (7) game suspension. The other player who responded received a three (3) game suspension that was reduced from an original ruling of seven (7) games.

No player should have to go through an incident like this. We encourage any player to report incidents to game officials, their coaches and the OMHA so they can be investigated, and action can be taken immediately.

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