Hockey Calgary’s top official is putting his foot down on what he calls a disturbing trend towards discriminatory slurs during games.
Executive Director Kevin Kobelka issued a bulletin warning to coaches and players that such language is not tolerated.
“Coaches need to educate their teams, but participants have to take responsibility and stop this discriminatory behaviour, or be prepared to face the consequences,” Kobelka wrote.
And some players don't seem to realize how serious those repercussions are, Kobelka said.
According to Hockey Calgary’s rule regarding discriminatory comments, “any player or team official who engages in verbal taunts, insults or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds (race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, language) shall be assessed a gross misconduct penalty.”
That comes with an indefinite suspension — usually four to 12 games— and a disciplinary hearing at the Hockey Calgary offices.
“And when we only have 20 to 25 games in some of the leagues, that can be 25 to 50 per cent of your season,” said Kobelka.
A large proportion of the disciplinary hearings that were convened last year dealt with discriminatory comments overhead by officials on the ice, Kobelka noted in the bulletin.
Hockey Calgary is a branch of Hockey Alberta and is the governing body for all minor hockey in Calgary from Timbits to Junior — covering ages four to 21.