FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Parents of Fort McMurray minor hockey players whose team was criticized for an Indigenous locker-room dance say they’re forfeiting the season due to safety concerns.
A social media video in January showed a boy beating his hockey stick against a trash-can lid as he and others jumped around and shouted to a song by Indigenous electronic group A Tribe Called Red.
A statement shortly after from the Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association apologized and called the actions by members of the Midget A Junior Oil Barons disrespectful.
In a statement posted to Facebook this week, players’ parents say some of the kids shown in the video are Indigenous and the dance was meant to be motivational, not derogatory or racist.
The parents say the team has been threatened verbally and on social media, so they decided it was too dangerous to finish the season.
The move means the team incurred and paid a $2,100 penalty.
“We as parents are saddened for our children, as the rest of the season was compromised, and they couldn’t play the game they love due to fear from threats, anxiety and humiliation,” the statement said.
“Since this incident occurred, we as parents are left to pick up the pieces, restore our children’s reputations and try to salvage the rest of the year in the face of such adversity.”
The Canadian Press