USA Hockey increases penalties for racial/derogatory slurs
Because of continued racial and derogatory slurs in amateur and Youth hockey games in the United States, USA Hockey President Jim Smith has issued a presidential directive increasing the penalties for such behavior from a game misconduct to a match penalty.
A match penalty comes with an automatic five-minute major and disqualification from the game.
"We continue to get reports of disturbing incidents of racial and other derogatory slurs, behavior which is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our game, especially around our children," Smith said on the USA Hockey website and in a press release. "For reasons I cannot explain or understand, the current penalty in place does not seem to be enough of a deterrent to stop this type of conduct."
Offenders also will be suspended until an investigation and hearing can be held by a governing USA Hockey affiliate or junior league. The governing affiliates and leagues will have 30 days to complete the investigation and hearing, and further discipline can be doled out at the discretion of those entities.
Previously, such incidents would come with an automatic game misconduct and additional one-game suspension, but member affiliates and leagues could issue further discipline at their discretion.
A presidential directive as opposed to a board-reviewed rule change is rare, but has been used in the past, a USA Hockey spokesperson told ESPN.
“The use of hateful language is a hurdle to creating a welcoming environment for families that want to be involved in our sport,” said USA Hockey Executive Director Pat Kelleher. “Eradicating this kind of behavior from our game is critical as we continue to make a positive impact on society through hockey.”