BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) USA Hockey has handed down additional penalties from a game in January when a few members of the Cheektowaga Warriors 18 and under team repeatedly made monkey sounds at a black player on the Amherst team.
The league took no action for six weeks, but then cancelled the playoffs the night before they were to begin. Cheektowaga Warriors made the decision on its own to suspend the assistant coach and two players for four games. Now USA Hockey has suspended one Cheektowaga player and the assistant coach in charge that day for one year, followed by one year’s probation.
Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, the father of the Amherst player who was harassed, is pleased.”I’m happy that there was a decision, there was a hearing, and the steps that should have taken place actually did eventually take place. The only thing that I wish would’ve have taken place is some training if you will. Just so they have some appreciation for players that look different from them that want to play the sport of hockey.”
The head coach of the Cheektowaga Warriors took issue with Dr. Brown-Hall’s desire for diversity training. “He’s now singling us out as well, apparently, which isn’t fair,” said Phillips. “We’ve apologized. The whole team didn’t do it and now that we’ve seen it, everybody’s learned from the situation.”
Phillips feels it’s unfair to suspend his assistant. “The kid that admitted doing it gets a year suspension and the coach that didn’t do it gets a year suspension. I just don’t understand how that works. You’re teaching people if you don’t commit the crime, or maybe just don’t coach anymore. Nobody volunteers their time to the kids because you’re going to be put under the microscope and you’re gonna get scrutinized and penalized.”
Phillips says he plans to submit an appeal to this latest suspension from USA Hockey. Meanwhile, the Amherst player has received an outpouring of support from the Sabres, who treated his family to view a recent game from the ‘Jack Eichel Suite’ at Key Bank Center. “All of the community has really supported Shawn and we appreciate that,” said Dr. Brown-Hall.