Several black minor hockey players in western Quebec report allegations of racial slander less than a week after another black player spoke out.
On Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L’Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a statement that they have launched an investigation after two of the team’s players said they were being subjected to racist remarks.
One of these players, Anthony Allain-Samaké, told Radio-Canada that the bullying made him leave the team.
“Being called the N-word was still pretty common for multiple players,” said his mother Julie Allain in French.
“I told him it’s completely unacceptable.”
‘The judges did not hear’
Blesson Ethan Citegetse, 14, plays for Les Loups des Collines at Bantam BB level.
He said that during a match last weekend, one of his teammates overheard an opponent use the N-word when referring to Citegetse, who was in the penalty box at the time.
This is not the first time he has been discriminated against, he said.
“I was sorry because hockey is a sport [where] we are all a family. We are all hockey players. We all need to respect each other. “
Citegetse said the incident last weekend made him angry.
“I could not do anything. The judges did not hear it. I can not go and complain to the judges.”
Citegetse’s experience comes just days after another black player, David Godwin of Les Voiliers d’Aylmer, told CBC he had been the target of repeated racist insults and intimidation on the ice over the past season.
On one occasion, Godwin said he was compared to African jungle animals.
The president of the association, which represents Godwin’s team, told CBC News that he supports harsh punishments for racial ridicule and discriminatory behavior on the ice, but officials on the ice must witness and report it.
Sports Minister reaches out
Jean Bosco Citegetse, Blesson Ethan’s father, said he has lodged a formal complaint with the association representing his son’s team, which was forwarded to Hockey Outaouais.
“They sent us an email asking us to fill out the complaint online,” he said. “They did not even call us, but our coach … he called me and he apologized for the incident.”
CBC News has approached Hockey Outaouais to ask what happens to Citegetses’ complaint.
In its statement addressing the concerns of Anthony Allain-Samaké and his teammate, Hockey Outaouai called on victims of discriminatory remarks to lodge a complaint online.
Godwin’s mother, Vicky Deselliers, said she was sad but not surprised to hear about other players’ concerns.
“I’m very glad they found the courage to go and condemn the situation,” she said. “Some kids may not want to and may want to keep it to themselves.”
After speaking out about his experience, Godwin was contacted by Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, Deselliers said.
“She said, ‘If I can help in any way, let me know and I will keep in touch with you. Just keep going.'”
For more stories about black Canadians’ experiences – from anti-black racism to success stories in black society – check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.