Canadian U18 Hockey Goalie Mark Connors Says He Was Called Racist Slurs at Tournament

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2021

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Halifax Hawks goalie Mark Connors said he was called racist slurs on multiple occasions while playing in a tournament on Prince Edward Island in Canada last month.

Connors, who is Black, told CBC News on Wednesday he was playing for the Hawks' U18 AA team in the Falcons Early Bird Tournament when he heard spectators using the N-word.

"Some of the younger kids in the stands were calling me a racial slur, one guy said Halifax has a n----r for a goalie," Connors said. "In the third period they kept on talking, saying n--, n--, n--."

The 16-year-old netminder said he was subjected to further racist abuse later in the event, which ran from Nov. 18 through Nov. 21, while he was interacting with players from another team at the hotel.

"When I walked by them they said, 'You shouldn't be playing hockey, this is a white man's sport,'" Connors told CBC.

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The latter incident was reported to hotel staff, who called police. It was investigated as a "noise complaint."

Hockey PEI, the governing body of the sport on the island, is investigating Connors' allegations.

"This process will be thorough and may take some time due to the complex nature," executive director Connor Cameron told CBC via email. "We have no further comment until the investigation has been completed."

In 2018, the Connors family came forward detailing six years of racist abuse Mark had suffered while working his way through the youth hockey system in Canada. The decision was sparked by an opposing player calling him the N-word after he made a save on a breakaway. That player received a 45-day suspension.

Spiro Bokolas, president of the Hawks minor hockey, said the organization will no longer allow its teams to play in tournaments on Prince Edward Island until the racism allegations are addressed.

"We are disgusted by the racist actions of players and parents during a game that all have a right to enjoy," Bokolas told CBC. "I am sick to my stomach just thinking about it and will continue to follow up with Hockey PEI and Hockey Nova Scotia to see that this gets addressed appropriately."

TasaMinorHockey @TasaMinorHockey

TASA condemns racism in all forms everywhere. TASA Minor Hockey supports <a href="https://twitter.com/hfxhawks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hfxhawks</a> and all others in a stance against racism. We hear hockey is for everyone. Hockey cannot be for everyone when some are excluded covertly or explicitly. We cannot be silent when racism is present.

The Hawks' U18 AA team is next scheduled to play Monday night when they host TASA, a fellow Nova Scotian club.


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