A small cricket club in Stoney Creek caught the attention of a federal minister after it was robbed and vandalized earlier this week in a possible hate crime.
Amateur Sport Minister Bal Gosal made a personal call to the Stoney Creek Cricket Academy's president Friday along with issuing a release stating his disappointment over the act.
"I felt it was important because we want to encourage people to play sports and this was such a reckless act of vandalism," Gosal told the CBC Saturday.
Police were alerted to the vandalism Christmas Day when some of the club members discovered the damage. The members
'It's tragic. Sport is something that brings people together. It's supposed to bring people of all backgrounds together'—Bal Gosal, Amateur Sport Minister
found its scoreboard had been burned, its pitch torn up and its trailer ransacked. Almost all of the equipment had been stolen and the trailer had been spraypainted with graffiti containing ethnic slurs that targeted people of South Asian descent.
It's the racial slurs that have the Hamilton police hate crime unit investigating the incident.
"It's tragic. Sport is something that brings people together. It's supposed to bring people of all backgrounds together, so to see something like this is strange," Gosal said, adding Cricket Canada and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney were also lending their support.
Gosal also said he is hoping to schedule a trip to visit the cricket club in the New Year to see if there are other ways he can help as the group, who are self-supported, start to rebuild.
This is not the first time the SCCA has been robbed. In August, thieves took their riding lawnmower, which the team had purchased for about $2,000.
"We are not making any money from this," Raman Mandar, a player on the team, told CBC Hamilton earlier this week. "We are playing with our own money without any help. So it hurts very badly."
The SSCA has been active since 2008, but played on a field behind Cathedral Catholic Secondary School in downtown Hamilton for three years. The field in Stoney Creek is their new home turf, and players say they hadn't experienced anything negative until their move this season.
Police continue to investigate the crime.