Keven Veilleux, 23, is a 2007 NHL draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, having spent the three seasons with their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He missed 2011-12 with a knee injury, and is rehabbing with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL – a league that has suspended him for 10 games for something that “horrified and disgusted” Wheeling alternate governor Tim Roberts.
Veilleux is accused of using a racial slur on the ice against Scooter Vaughan, a defenseman for the South Carolina Stingrays and a former Nailer, in a game on Sunday.
Vaughan, who is African-American, fought Veilleux twice during the third period. According to the Intelligencer, Veilleux yelled a slur at Vaughan while the two were in the penalty boxes.
The Nailers suspended Veilleux pending an ECHL investigation, which concluded with the 10-game suspension and an undisclosed fine on Wednesday.
From the ECHL:
The suspension is a result of inappropriate comments made by Mr. Veilleux in and around the penalty boxes subsequent to a third period altercation. The comments were racial in nature.
The ECHL will not tolerate incidents of this nature as all players in the League shall be afforded a level of respect and right to function in a workplace free of racial intolerance. The ECHL will continue to hold all players responsible for their actions/comments regardless of previous events that may have taken place. It is the expectation and understanding of the ECHL that the Wheeling organization will undertake internal measures to provide training and education course(s) to the parties involved to further address and remedy the situation.
Roberts, of the Nailers’ alternate governor, didn't defend the actions, but said that Veilleux was remorseful about the incident and deserved another chance with the team. From The Intelligencer:
''He didn't have to fight growing up and in juniors because he was so good,'' Wheeling Nailers alternate governor Tim Roberts said Monday. ''Now in the pros he has to fight just to make it. He's not doing it as his job, he's doing it out of anger.
''He feels terrible.''
Though he doesn't condone Veilleux's actions, Roberts said he got a sense the 23-year-old St-Georges-de-Beauce, PQ, native, and believes he deserves one second chance, including with the Nailers. ''In my opinion, the apology and remorse and the tears, I don't think'' he has played his last game in Wheeling, Roberts said. ''If I didn't see true remorse and tears in his eyes, I would have had a tough time bringing him back. … In the heat of the moment, he lost it.''
The Penguins issued a statement to the paper as well, saying in part: “We have talked to Keven and told him that such behavior is unacceptable.”