Disciplinary hearing on racist incident at P.E.I. hockey tournament began Tuesday
'We want to make sure it was handled in a professional, procedurally fair way'
A virtual disciplinary hearing in the case of a Halifax hockey player who experienced racism on P.E.I. began Tuesday.
Mark Connors, 16, said the N-word was directed at him during a tournament match in Charlottetown last November. And then, at a hotel the next day, he was targeted again.
Last week, a 29 page report of an independent investigation on those allegations was sent to Connors.
Connor Cameron, executive director of Hockey P.E.I., said dealing with Connors's case has been a long process, but necessary to get things right.
It was an admission by the whole organization that things need to change and we're continuing to work with that process now.— Connor Cameron, Hockey P.E.I.
"Certainly with any issue of this magnitude, we want to make sure it was handled in a professional, procedurally fair way," Cameron said.
The disciplinary hearing began at 4 p.m. All parties involved have been invited to the hearing, and were given six to seven days to call more witnesses, Cameron said.
"The committee members are very qualified. They're all from diverse backgrounds on P.E.I. so we [were] very excited to start today's proceedings."
The hearing committee hopes to have a resolution as soon as possible, he said.
"You know, for all parties concerned, but certainly from Mark Connors in this scenario," Cameron said. "I wouldn't expect it would take weeks but any time you're writing a professional report and presenting a decision that will be public at some point, it may take a couple of days."
Cameron said the previous members of Hockey P.E.I.'s disciplinary and ethics committee stepped down following the hearing of another racism case, which led to the suspension of a hockey player who criticized the organization for its handling of racism.
That player, Keegan Mitchell, was then reinstated following backlash on his suspension.
"I think those individuals did the honourable thing and stepped out of the way," Cameron said. "It wasn't an admission of guilt. It was an admission by the whole organization that things need to change and we're continuing to work with that process now."
As much as Hockey P.E.I. wants to avoid situations like these, they're learning moments for the organization, Cameron said.
"It pushes our organization to be better. I think sometimes you think you are doing the right thing and sometimes it takes a situation or two to make you realize you need to be better, to do better."
With files from Brian Higgins