The 16-year-old Halifax goalie says he faced racial slurs again, this time at the PEI hockey tournament. – .

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The 16-year-old Halifax goalie says he faced racial slurs again, this time at the PEI hockey tournament. – .


A 16-year-old hockey player from Halifax, nicknamed the N word on the ice three years ago, said he was the victim of racist slurs again, this time at a recent tournament in Charlottetown.
Mark Connors, who is black, is a goalie with the Halifax Hawks U18 AA team. He said the N word was addressed to him again during the first match he played in the Falcons Early Bird tournament, which was held from November 18-21.

“Some of the younger guys in the stands were calling me a racial insult, one guy said Halifax had an n —- for a goalie,” Connors said. “In the third period, they kept talking saying n–, n–, n–. “

Connors said some of his teammates and coaches heard the comments coming from the stands.

From there, he said the weekend got even worse.

The other teams in the tournament were staying at the same hotel as the Hawks. Connors said players on a Prince Edward Island team started throwing more racial abuse when he and a teammate returned to their rooms after checking out the hotel’s gym .

“When I walked past them, they said, ‘You shouldn’t be playing hockey, it’s a white man’s sport.’ ”

Connors said he had done his best to remain calm and had not made a commitment. The incident was reported to hotel staff who then called Charlottetown Police, who dealt with what they said was a noise complaint.

Investigation launched

Hockey PEI, the governing body of organized hockey on the island, has launched an investigation.

“This process will be thorough and may take some time due to the complex nature,” Connor Cameron, general manager of Hockey PEI, said in an email to CBC. “We have no further comments until the investigation is complete. “

Part of that investigation will include a Zoom meeting late next week between Connors and his family and Robert MacMillan, Hockey PEI’s suspension coordinator.

The two incidents on the same weekend shocked Connors and his family. They come three and a half years after Mark’s father Wayne Connors spoke publicly about how his son was treated with a racial insult during a peewee hockey game.

Towards the end of the 2017-18 hockey season, an opposing player called Connors, then 12, used the N word after Connors stopped him during a breakaway. This player has been suspended for 45 games, which he began serving at the start of the next minor hockey season.

The Premier of PEI contact the Connors family

Wayne Connors wrote a letter to Cameron describing what happened to his son at the Charlottetown tournament and the disappointment they now feel after facing racist remarks for the second time.

The letter was copied to the email from Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King. The next day, Wayne Connors received a phone call from King.

“I was on the road in Cape Breton at the time for my job and he called me directly and apologized,” Connors said. “It was more of a father-to-father conversation because he also has a son who is a goalie, and he knows that kind of comments should never happen these days.

The Premier of PEI Dennis King called the Connors family and apologized for the treatment Mark Connors received at a hockey tournament in Charlottetown. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

Hawks teams

Halifax Hawks minor hockey president Spiro Bokolas said his management team is supportive of the Connors family. New helmet decals are being made with Mark Connors’ jersey number 31 and the words “Hawks Against Racism” wrapped around the Hawks logo.

“We are disgusted by the racist actions of players and parents in a game that everyone has the right to enjoy,” said Bokolas.

“I’m nauseous just thinking about it and will continue to follow up with Hockey PEI and Hockey Nova Scotia to see if this is properly addressed. “

The Halifax Hawks executive has also decided that none of their teams will compete in other PEI hockey tournaments. until the matter is resolved.

“It’s a tough decision and the Hawks will have close to 700 potentially disappointed players who won’t attend PEI tournaments.

All Halifax Hawks teams will now wear these anti-racist decals to support Connors, who wears the number 31 on his jersey. (Submitted by Halifax Hawks)

The Confident Problem Of Hockey Leaders Will Be Solved

Hockey Nova Scotia general manager Amy Walsh said she could not comment on the details of the case as it is currently under investigation by her counterparts in Prince Island. Edward.

Shortly after the incident Connors suffered in March 2018, Hockey Nova Scotia decided to formally examine racism in hockey and established a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

While the governing body does not track diversity numbers, Hockey Nova Scotia says a lot of work has been done over the past two years to tackle racism in sport in the province and make it more inclusive. .

“There is no room for racism in society and hockey is no exception,” said Walsh, who herself has three boys who play minor hockey.

“There has been a lot of emphasis on zero tolerance for abuse and I have enough confidence in our Hockey Canada family and how this will be resolved.

PEI officials say it could be weeks before the investigation is complete.

For more stories about the experiences of black Canadians -om anti-black racism to success stories within the black community – check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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