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Sharks Minor League Player Banned 30 Games for Racist Gesture Towards Black Player

The American Hockey League announced on Friday that forward Krystof Hrabik of the San Jose Barracuda will serve a 30-game suspension after making a racist gesture toward left wing Boko Imama of the Tucson Roadrunners.

Tucson told the AHL that Hrabik, who plays for a minor league team of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, made a made a monkey gesture at Imama—who is Black—after the Barracudas’ 4–3 loss to the Roadrunners on Jan. 12. The league confirmed the incident in a video.

According to a joint statement made by the Sharks and the Barracuda, the 22-year-old was removed from all team activities immediately following the incident as the AHL conducted an investigation.

“We offer our sincerest apologies to Boko, the Roadrunners organization, the AHL, our fans, and the entire hockey community,” the statement read. “While we support the ability for individuals to atone and learn from disrespectful incidents in this context, these actions are in direct opposition to the Sharks and Barracuda organizations’ values.”

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Hrabik, who has already served three games of his suspension, has the option to apply for early reinstatement on March 12. However, his reinstatement will be based on an “evaluation of his progress in the necessary education and training with the Player Inclusion Committee.”

However, Hrabik does not plan to appeal the AHL’s decision, saying that he will “accept responsibility for his actions and will do everything in his power to atone.”

This was not the first racist incident involving Imama. In January 2020, Bakersfield Condors defenseman Brandon Manning received a five-game suspension for directing a racial slur at the 27-year-old.

“I‘ve been dealing with situations like this my entire life,” Imama wrote on Twitter. “As a person of color playing youth hockey, through junior and now twice as a professional ... It’s frustrating and disheartening that this is still going on in 2022!”

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