San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik has been suspended 30 games for making a racist gesture toward Black Tuscon Roadrunners forward Boko Imama during a Jan. 12 AHL game.
Hrabik was immediately suspended by the Barracuda once the league informed them of the racist gesture. He has served three games of the 30-game suspension.
As part of his ban, Hrabik will receive training on racism and inclusion from the NHL’s Player Inclusion Committee, which includes New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban and former NHL player Anson Carter. Hrabik is eligible to apply for early reinstatement on March 12.
Hrabik issued a statement apologizing for his actions, saying the gesture was made "in the heat of battle" and that he didn't mean anything racist by it.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 22, 2022
This isn’t the first time Imama has been the victim of a racist act by an opponent. During a Jan. 2020 game, Brandon Manning of the Bakersfield Condors used a racial slur in a verbal altercation against Imama and was suspended for five games.
Imama later revealed that he thought Manning’s suspension wasn’t a strong enough punishment.
"It's still a little bit sour in me, because I know it wasn't dealt with in the right way," Imama said via Jose M. Romero of the Arizona Republic in Oct. 2021.
"The AHL stands with Boko Imama," AHL commissioner Scott Howson said in a statement. "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."
Imama himself responded with the following statement, expressing frustration that incidents like these keep occurring.
It doesn’t appear that a 30-game suspension will curtail the prevalence of racist, on-ice acts as hockey has once again failed Imama.
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