Krystof Hrabik Suspended 30 Games by AHL for Making Racist Gesture Toward Boko Imama

Erin WalshJanuary 21, 2022

EVERETT, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: Tri-City Americans forward Krystof Hrabik #20 carries the puck into the neutral zone during a game between the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans at Angel of the Winds Arena on November 24, 2019 in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)
Christopher Mast/Getty Images

San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik has been suspended 30 games after making a racist gesture toward Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama, who is Black, during a Jan. 12 game, the AHL announced Friday. 

According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, Hrabik imitated the movement of a monkey in a taunt toward Imama. Players on the Roadrunners bench noticed the gesture, and he was eventually confronted by Tucson's Travis Barron. 

The AHL was made aware of the incident on Jan. 13 and began investigating. At that point, Hrabik was barred from all team activities. He has already served three games of his 30-game suspension. 

AHL President and CEO Scott Howson released the following statement:

"The AHL stands with Boko Imama. It is unfair that any player should be subjected to comments or gestures based on their race; they should be judged only on their ability to perform as a player on the ice, as a teammate in the locker room and as a member of their community."

Hrabik released a statement on Friday evening. He said he would not be appealing the suspension and that he is "embarrassed" by his actions. 

Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC

Krystof Hrabik, suspended today by the AHL, releases a statement where he apologizes to Boko Imama, accepts responsibility and โ€œwill do everything in my power to atone.โ€ <a href="https://t.co/2XLH31TeVL">pic.twitter.com/2XLH31TeVL</a>

Imama also released a statement, saying the situation is "frustrating and disheartening" and hopes people learn from it. 

Boko Imama @bokojr

Enough is enough! <a href="https://t.co/bETzUXEPGo">pic.twitter.com/bETzUXEPGo</a>

As part of his suspension, Hrabik is being given the opportunity to work with the NHL's Player Inclusion Committee to participate in education and training on racism and inclusion. He will be allowed to apply for reinstatement to the AHL after missing 21 games. The league's decision will be "based on an evaluation of his progress in the necessary education and training" with the Player Inclusion Committee.

The Barracuda and the San Jose Sharks, the team's NHL affiliate, also released a joint statement Friday:

San Jose Barracuda @sjbarracuda

Statement from the San Jose Barracuda and San Jose Sharks Organizations <a href="https://t.co/0lYaLuDbUl">pic.twitter.com/0lYaLuDbUl</a>

This marks the second time a player has been suspended for making a racist gesture toward Imama. Former Bakersfield Condors defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended five games in 2020 after using a racial slur toward Imama. 

Imama was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015. He spent four years with the Los Angeles Kings from 2017-21 before signing with the Roadrunners last summer.