ECHL player who made apparent racist gesture at Jordan Subban suspended for rest of season
Jacob Panetta could shorten 38-game ban with completion of 'learning experience'
The ECHL suspended defenceman Jacob Panetta for the rest of the season on Thursday after he made an apparent racist gesture toward Jordan Subban, who is Black, during a recent game.
Panetta, 26, was released by his team, the Jacksonville Icemen, on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the incident.
The suspension will cost the Belleville, Ont., native 38 games. In a statement, the ECHL, formerly the East Coast Hockey League, said he could apply for early reinstatement after March 17, pending the completion of a "learning experience in conjunction with the NHL's player inclusion committee."
Video of the incident 23 seconds into overtime on Saturday in the Florida city shows Panetta appearing to raise his arms toward his side while looking at Subban, also a defenceman and a Toronto native, who plays for the South Carolina Stingrays.
After the game, Subban accused Panetta of making a monkey gesture. Panetta has since denied that was his intent.
"Insensitive actions and gestures, regardless of intent, cannot be tolerated in our game," said ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin.
"We all need to learn and grow from this incident, and remain steadfast to further educating and advancing our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our league."
It's the second suspension in pro hockey for a racist incident in two weeks after the American Hockey League banned a player for 30 games.
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.