Hockey P.E.I. revokes suspension for player who criticized handling of racist incident

Hockey P.E.I. has reversed its decision to suspend a Junior B player who stood up for his teammate who endured an on-ice racial slur.

Organization also lengthens suspension of a player who made an anti-Asian remark

'We acknowledge and express our sincere regret for errors that were made in our handling of the incident,' Hockey P.E.I. said in a statement. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Hockey P.E.I. is reversing the indefinite suspension of a Junior B player who spoke out on social media after an opponent used an anti-Asian racial slur against a teammate during a game. 

Last week, Hockey P.E.I. indefinitely suspended Keegan Mitchell after he criticized the organization for its handling of the incident, which happened on Dec. 17. 

In a statement to CBC News Wednesday, the organization apologized for "errors" that were made in handling the case. 

"Hockey P.E.I. is repealing this suspension effective immediately. As an organization and as individuals, we need to take a stand against racism and help make the hockey environment a safe and welcoming place for everyone," the statement said.

Racism has no place in the game and I will continue to advocate for that.— Keegan Mitchell

Hockey P.E.I. is now praising Mitchell, who's 20, for acting as he did after a Kensington Vipers player received only a two-game suspension for a comment aimed at one of Mitchell's teammates on the Sherwood Metros. 

"We commend Keegan for speaking up for what was right and shining a spotlight on our missteps around this tragic incident," the governing body's statement said.

'No place in the game'

Mitchell sent a written statement to CBC News after Hockey P.E.I. reversed course on his indefinite suspension. 

"I hope that moving forward Hockey P.E.I. will continue to implement the correct penalization for situations like this," it said.

"Racism has no place in the game and I will continue to advocate for that."

'The fight against racism does not stop here, as there is much more work to be done,' Keegan Mitchell said in a statement to CBC News. (CBC)

The organization also faced criticism for its ruling on the 19-year-old Kensington player who made the anti-Asian remark. His initial two-game suspension was changed to a five-game suspension, falling more in line with Hockey Canada guidelines. 

"[The] suspension was not proportionate to the act that was committed and has been increased to five games," Hockey P.E.I.'s statement said.

"We acknowledge the initial error in judgment and express our deepest apologies to the victim."

The organization said it has a "zero-tolerance policy" for racism.

This latest incident came just weeks after Hockey P.E.I. was asked to investigate racial incidents during a November tournament involving a young Black player from Nova Scotia.

"The fight against racism does not stop here, as there is much more work to be done," Mitchell said in his statement Wednesday afternoon.

With files from Brian Higgins