Ottawa

More Black hockey players in western Quebec say they've faced racial slurs

More Black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with allegations of racism less than a week after another Black player spoke out.

N-word was common, says mother of player who quit his team

Blesson Ethan Citegetse, a 14-year-old who plays for Les Loups des Collines minor hockey team in western Quebec, says he was discriminated against at a recent game and it's not the first time. (Submitted by Jean Bosco Citegetse)

More Black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with allegations of racial slurs less than a week after another Black player spoke out.

On Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L'Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a statement they have launched an investigation after two of the team's players said they were subjected to racist remarks. 

One of those players, Anthony Allain-Samaké, told Radio-Canada the bullying led him to quit the team.

"Being called the N-word was still quite common for several players," said his mother Julie Allain in French.

"I told him it is totally unacceptable."

'The refs didn't hear it' 

Blesson Ethan Citegetse, 14, plays for Les Loups des Collines at the Bantam BB level.

He said that during a game this past weekend, one of his teammates overheard an opponent use the N-word when referring to Citegetse, who was in the penalty box at the time. 

It's not the first time he's been discriminated against, he said. 

"I was sad because … hockey is a sport [where] we're all a family. We're all hockey players. We should all have respect for each other."

WATCH | The Citegetses on Blesson Ethan's racist experiences: 

Black hockey players in Gatineau say racism is hurting their experience of the game

1 year ago
Duration 1:27
Jean Bosco Citegetse and his son, Blesson Ethan Citegetse, say racism in Gatineau minor hockey is a persistent and disappointing problem.

Citegetse said this past weekend's incident left him angry.

"I couldn't do anything. The refs didn't hear it. I can't go complain to the refs."

Citegetse's experience comes only days after another Black player, David Godwin of Les Voiliers d'Aylmer, told CBC he has been the target of repeated racial taunts and intimidation on the ice throughout this past season.

On one occasion, Godwin said he was compared to African jungle animals.

The president of the association representing Godwin's team told CBC News he supports strict penalties for racial taunts and discriminatory behaviour on the ice, but on-ice officials need to witness and report it.

Sports minister reaches out

Jean Bosco Citegetse, Blesson Ethan's father, said he has filed a formal complaint with the association representing his son's team, which was forwarded to Hockey Outaouais. 

"They sent us an email asking us to fill out the complaint online," he said. "They didn't even call us, but our coach … he called me and he apologized for the incident."

Jean Bosco Citegetse, Blesson Ethan Citegetse's father, says taunts like those endured by his son make players question whether to remain in the sport they love. (Radio-Canada)

CBC News has reached out to Hockey Outaouais to ask what happens next with the Citegetses' complaint.

In its statement addressing the concerns raised by Anthony Allain-Samaké and his teammate, Hockey Outaouais encouraged victims of discriminatory remarks to file a complaint online

Godwin's mother, Vicky Deselliers, said she was sad, but not surprised to hear of other players' concerns. 

"I'm very happy that they found the courage to go and denounce the situation," she said. "Some kids might not and might keep it to themselves."

Vicky Deselliers, David Godwin's mother, says she initially hesitated in enrolling him in organized hockey due to the high cost, but relented when his passion for the sport became clear. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

After speaking out about his experience, Godwin was contacted by federal Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, Deselliers said. 

"She said, 'If I can be any help in any way, you let me know and I will keep in touch with you. Just keep on going.'"


For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from 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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(CBC)

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified federal Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge as Quebec's sports minister.
    Apr 06, 2022 8:15 AM ET

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa

Guy Quenneville is a reporter at CBC Ottawa. He can be reached at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca.

With files from Alexandra Angers, Alexander Behne, Catherine Morasse and Radio-Canada

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