LNAH to increase security and implement new measures after racist taunting - InfoNews

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LNAH to increase security and implement new measures after racist taunting

Hockey player Jonathan-Ismael Diaby is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ligue nord-americaine de hockey MANDATORY CREDIT
February 28, 2019 - 12:13 PM

THETFORD MINES, Que. - The North American Hockey League said Thursday it plans to increase arena security and implement new measures to try to eliminate discriminatory behaviour in the wake of a player being subjected to racist taunts during a game last weekend.

Defenceman Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, a black player for the Jonquiere Marquis, left a road game against the Petroliers du Nord last Saturday due to verbal abuse from fans at the arena in St-Jerome, about 45 kilometres north of Montreal.

Video of the game on the league's website showed a fan harassing Diaby as he entered the penalty box. The fan can be seen making racist gestures and pointing to an image on his cellphone, which Diaby has said was a baboon. A few minutes after the taunting began, an altercation broke out in the stands where Diaby's friends and family were seated.

The 24-year-old Diaby, a six-foot-five 218-pound blueliner, said he didn't feel his family members were safe. They all left the arena and the game continued.

The LNAH said that starting Friday, a reminder message about the league's zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behaviour or comments will be shown at the beginning of each game. In addition, any policy offenders will be immediately ejected and officials will be allowed to stop play if needed until they are removed from the premises, the league said.

"In the wake of these incidents we have decided, with the support of all team owners on the circuit, to implement a series of measures to ensure better safety for all those who come to our games, and inform the public about our expectations and the comments and behaviours that will not be tolerated during our activities," commissioner Jean-Francois Laplante said in a release.

The Quebec-based semi-pro league, which has six teams, apologized for and denounced the actions of the racist fans, whom it said make up a tiny part of its fanbase.

On Wednesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the racist taunts were unacceptable and should not be tolerated. A day later, the LNAH reiterated its "deepest apologies" to Diaby and his family.

"We're delighted to welcome our fans and the parents and friends of our players as well as the general public to all our games, and we want to offer them an entertaining sports show in a pleasant and safe environment," Laplante said. "We condemn any racist, sexist or homophobic behaviour or comments towards a player, coach or official and will not tolerate them."

Diaby was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators. He played for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Victoriaville Tigres from 2010-14 and played for the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals and ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones in recent seasons.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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