NHL issued statement in response to hateful and racist comments directed at defenseman Ethan Bear following the elimination of the Edmonton Oilers from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Monday.
The 23-year-old Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan received the messages after a 4-3 triple overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4, a loss that ended the season of the Oilers.
Bear made a turnover which led to the Jets goal forward Mark Scheifele at 6:01 of the third period that tied the game 3-3. Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor scored at 6:52 of third overtime.
Bear’s girlfriend Lenasia Ned said on social media that the defender received racist comments following the game.
“As you know, I have been the subject of racist behavior on social media,” Bear said in a video statement. “I know this doesn’t represent all Oilers fans or hockey fans and I really appreciate your support and love during this time.
“I’m here to resist this behavior, these comments. I am proud of where I come from. I am proud to be from the Ochapowace First Nation. I’m not doing this just for myself; i am i do this for all people of color. I’m doing this for the next generation, to help change, to love each other, to support each other, to be kind to each other. There is no place for racism in our communities, in sports or in our workplace. I call on all of us to make change and end racism. “
Oilers Captain Connor McDavid expressed support for Bear in a social media statement.
“Racist comments to our teammate and brother Ethan Bear are not acceptable, ”McDavid said. People who spit out this type of hate should think twice about their behavior. Ethan is such a positive role model for the Ochapowace First Nation and does so much work in our local Edmonton community.
“On behalf of all my Oiler teammates, we strongly support Ethan and against racism of any kind. “
Edmonton general manager Ken Holland also addressed the situation in his end-of-season availability on Wednesday.
“Ethan is an amazing young man, he is a great role model for all young athletes, especially in the aboriginal community,” said Holland. “He is involved, gives time to the community. It is popular in the locker room.
“I feel sick for him and disappointed for him that he is undergoing this kind of abuse. This is unacceptable, and obviously we must all continue to work at all levels. I think we have made progress, but there is a long way to go to get there. go create a world where everyone feels safe and where they are free from this kind of racism and abuse. “
NHL.com independent correspondent Derek Van Diest contributed to this report.