ECHL suspends Jacksonville’s Jacob Panetta indefinitely for racist gesture

Jacob Panetta of the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing for a racist gesture made towards South Carolina Stingray defenseman Jordan Subban, who is Black.

Twenty-three seconds into overtime during Jacksonville’s 1-0 win, Panetta and Subban were involved in a post-whistle scrum along the boards. The two continued chirping after being separated and as they skated away Panetta made the gesture towards Subban, which caused the Stingray defenseman to go after Panetta near center ice.

Panetta was assessed two game misconducts — one for “fighting (continuing an altercation)” and one for “inciting” — and a fighting major and an unsportsmanlike minor. Subban was given a game misconduct for “fighting (continuing an altercation)” and an unsportsmanlike minor.

Panetta’s Twitter account has since been deleted.

Subban’s brother, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, posted video of the incident to Instagram saying, “I’ll say with all due respect to everyone who has an opinion, this isn’t a mistake. We all know what’s ok and what’s not. Even your own teammates wanted to see you get your clock cleaned.”

In a statement on Sunday, Stingrays team president Rob Concannon said, “The South Carolina Stingrays are disgusted and appalled by last night’s incident involving Jordan Subban. Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as all other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behavior is unacceptable and has to stop.”

This is the second suspension this week due to a racial gesture made by a player in the minor leagues. On Friday, the American Hockey League suspended Krystof Hrabik of the San Jose Barracuda 30 games for making a monkey gesture towards Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama, who is Black.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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