San Jose Sharks minor leaguer apologizes for making racist gesture after the AHL gave him a 30-game suspension

San Jose Barracuda ahead Krystof Hrabik issued a public apology Friday evening, hours after the AHL gave him a 30-game suspension for making a racist gesture towards Tucson Roadrunners left wing Boko Imama, who’s Black. The incident, which Hrabik mentioned he is “embarrassed” of, passed off through the Roadrunners’ 4-3 win on Jan. 12. 

In a press release, Hrabik mentioned he is “ashamed” by the suspension and takes “full duty” for his actions. Hrabik did not, nevertheless, admit to having any racist intent upon making the gesture.  

“Folks ought to know that I had completely no inappropriate intent,” Hrabik said. “The gesture was made within the warmth of battle and whereas I did not imply something racist by what I did, I understand now via my very own ignorance how my gesture could possibly be interpreted. I alone am accountable for that, it was horrible, and I make no excuses. After I heard about Boko’s response to the gesture, I used to be horrified by what I had executed.

“Boko is a participant I respect and I’m so sorry for placing him via this case. I despatched a private apology to Boko and sincerely hope that he’ll forgive me. I additionally wish to apologize to the American Hockey League, the San Jose Barracuda, the Tucson Roadrunners, and to my teammates for my unacceptable actions.” 

Roadrunners employees knowledgeable the AHL of Hrabik directing a monkey gesture towards Imama after their Jan. 12 recreation, and the league confirmed the incident via video. An investigation launched the next day, and beginning then the Barracuda saved Hrabik from all workforce actions. 

The San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate will now lose Hrabik till at the very least April 3 whereas he serves the suspension. Hrabik, who’s already served three video games of the suspension, can apply for early reinstatement on March 12 “based mostly on an analysis of his progress within the needed training and coaching with the Participant Inclusion Committee.”

Hrabik mentioned he will not enchantment the AHL’s determination in his assertion. 

“The Barracuda and San Jose Sharks organizations had been appalled to study of this incident,” the Barracuda said in a press release. “We provide our sincerest apologies to Boko, the Roadrunners group, the AHL, our followers, and the whole hockey neighborhood. Whereas we assist the flexibility for people to atone and study from disrespectful incidents on this context, these actions are in direct opposition to the Sharks and Barracuda organizations’ values.”

This is not Imama’s first encounter with racist conduct within the AHL. Brandon Manning, then a defenseman with the Ontario Reign, bought a five-game suspension from the league after directing a racial slur towards Imama in January 2020. The 2 dropped gloves when their groups met weeks later. 

“The AHL stands with Boko Imama,” AHL president Scott Howson mentioned in a press release. “It’s unfair that any participant must be subjected to feedback or gestures based mostly on their race; they need to be judged solely on their potential to carry out as a participant on the ice, as a teammate within the locker room and as a member of their neighborhood.”

Imama, a 27-year-old former Tampa Bay Lightning draft decide, has eight factors (4 targets, 4 assists) over 27 video games with the Roadrunners this season. Hrabik, 22, has scored 4 factors (one aim, three assists) via 21 video games with the Barracuda. 

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