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April 2, 2019 10:36 am

Los Angeles Youth Hockey Team Suspends Players, Coaches Over Antisemitic Video

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The logo for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Photo: Screenshot / Jrkingshockey.com.

A Los Angeles-based youth hockey team suspended 15 players and three coaches after a video surfaced showing a player from the club doing a Nazi salute while other teammates made what sounded like antisemitic remarks, The Athletic reported on Monday.

In the nine-second video, which was briefly shared on social media on March 9 and later obtained by The Athletic, a player from the Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U Bantam AAA team raises his arm in what appears to be the Nazi salute, while several others laugh. People are then heard saying what sounds like, “Are you a Nazi?,” “F–k the Jews” and “F–king Jews.”

Team officials found out about the video before the team’s final game of a Las Vegas tournament and suspended all those who attended and coached there while the incident was investigated, according to The New York Post.

In response to the video, Steve Yovetich, president of the LA Jr. Kings, released a statement and confirmed that the players in the clip were members of the hockey team.

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“Today the LAJK communicated to the players & coaches that as a component of their suspension they will be required to participate in a mandatory educational program; comprised of sensitivity and social media training administered by outside professionals experienced in impactful positive youth education,” the statement said. “We are a club that prides itself on being a community; one that fosters values such as friendship, respect and teamwork, and upholds ideals like diversity, equality and tolerance.”

“Two significant components of community are responsibility and accountability, and the LAJK recognize the importance of action beyond words. We have long claimed we foster the growth of student-athletes and leaders both on and off the ice,” Yovetich added. “It is the LAJK community’s responsibility now to show how our actions contribute to both, and hold ourselves accountable to accomplishing these goals. The events on March 9 are regretful to many, especially the players and parents. We will work together to educate and grow, and in this regard lead with action.”

The youth team plays and practices in the same facility as the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, but it is not owned or operated by the latter. The Kings said in a statement to The Athletic that since being made aware of the video it had been in regular contact with the LA Jr. Kings.

The Kings said, “We fully supported their decision to indefinitely suspend all players and coaches after they conducted an immediate internal investigation. The LA Kings have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. We now await the results of the SafeSport investigation done by [the California Amateur Hockey Association], on behalf of the Pacific District and USA hockey.”

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