A junior hockey game that took place over the weekend in Manitoba is gaining attention after a player on the Dauphin Kings makes what looks like a bow and arrow gesture against members of a First Nations team.
Kings player Klim Georgiev was suspended following the game against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) posted a statement online regarding the incident.
“The MJHL takes situations of this nature very seriously. At this time the player has been suspended with a final decision to follow once a full review has been completed of the incident which includes the use of an external consultant in investigating this matter,” the statement said.
The Dauphin Kings also released a statement regarding the incident.
“We take pride in bringing these players into our community and we all must remember that these are young men who are still learning. This is a learning opportunity for our hockey club and we are determined to work together to educate all involved,” the statement said.
Allowing this type of behaviour to continue is unacceptable. It’s important to stand up to it and address it. We can no longer sweep behaviour like this under the rug. It doesn’t matter if it’s “getting back at the other team” it’s racist. @mjhlhockey @dauphinkings @cjhlhockey https://t.co/NpUUP0iVwK
— Brigette Lacquette (@briglacquette) February 20, 2022
Hockey Indigenous, a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting Indigenous hockey within North America, said in a now deleted tweet that “being racist is a choice.
The organization has since released an official statement.
“Our main goal was to bring awareness of the systemic racism of our people still endure on a daily basis. We do not condemn any hatred or threats towards the player, team, and league by any means but to understand that acts of racism and racism is a very sensitive issue,” the statement said.
Hockey Indigenous also would like to see land acknowledgments before games and Indigenous sensitivity training.
Brigette Lacquette, who is from Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan and won silver as a member of Canada’s women’s hockey team in the 2018 winter Olympics in PyeongChang, also weighed in online calling the behaviour unacceptable.
“Allowing this type of behaviour to continue is unacceptable. It’s important to stand up to it and address it. We can no longer sweep behaviour like this under the rug. It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘getting back at the other team’ it’s racist,” she said in a Twitter post.
Other social media comments allege a Wolverines player first performed the gesture earlier in the game after they scored but it appears to be a common hockey celebration.
The Waywayseecappo Wolverines didn’t comment saying they may do so after the investigation is complete.
Racist gestures have also taken place recently in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League, leading to suspensions.