The entire student body of a Pennsylvania high school was banned from attending classmates’ hockey games after some students chanted sexually explicit vulgarities against a visiting team’s goalie – the only one team player.
During a hockey game last week between the Armstrong River Hawks and the Mars Fighting Planets, a number of Armstrong Junior-Senior high school students began chanting, “inappropriate and Abusive languageTo the Mars goalie, according to the Pennsylvania Interschool Hockey League. On Thursday, the league announced that Armstrong students would be banned from attending games for the remainder of the season, including during the playoffs.
“Providing a safe environment for member associations and players to participate in inter-school hockey will always be the primary goal of PIHL,” the league said in a statement. âAny spectator action that compromises or interferes with the ability of players to participate in inter-school hockey in a safe environment will not be tolerated. “
The ban, which originally applied to students in Grades 9 to 12, was later extended to include students in grades 7 and 8, the Armstrong County Council of Commissioners confirmed Thursday, which oversees the facility where the game was played, confirmed in a statement.
Kirk Lorigan, an Armstrong high school principal, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the students who conducted the singing had been subjected to “appropriate academic discipline,” but he did not specify exactly what measures had been taken. been taken.
Neither Mr. Lorigan nor Mike Cominos, another Armstrong manager, who is in Kittanning, Pa., Could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.
The Mars Hockey Club board of directors on Friday called the incident “completely unacceptable”.
“We hope that the attention this incident has attracted will shed light on the issues our female athletes face that should not be tolerated and that this attention will help eliminate this type of conduct from our sport,” the board said. administration in a press release. The council refused to disclose the identity of the guard to protect her safety.
In addition to banning Armstrong students from attending games, the league also asked the school to provide a faculty member or administrator to attend each home and away game to monitor and report any âinappropriateâ behavior.
In western Pennsylvania, high school hockey is not sponsored by the school but a club sport, run by the parents and leaders of each school. Armstrong is the only school in the league currently required to have a faculty member in attendance.
The Armstrong River Hawks were also placed on disciplinary probation for the remainder of the season. Brothers and sisters of Armstrong varsity hockey players can attend games if they are seated with a parent or guardian.
The Armstrong Area School District has issued a formal apology to the Mars Area School District and said it will also apologize to the goalie, according to Mark Gross, the Mars District Superintendent. According to the Mars varsity and junior varsity rosters, the same goalie plays on both teams.
“We are confident that the efforts of the Armstrong Area School District will lead to appropriate discipline for those involved while minimizing the potential for future incidents,” added Dr. Gross.
The controversy has inspired opinion pieces in local newspapers and caught the attention of professional hockey players.
Meghan Duggan, Olympic gold medalist, tweeted in support of the goalkeeper. âEvery time you play on the ice, women and girls across the hockey community are proud of YOU! ” she wrote. âYou are more than the hateful words that have been addressed to you. I am with you.
âTo all the girls and women who watched this video and thought there was no place for you in this sport – there is,â Kendall Coyne Schofield, another Olympic gold medalist, said in a tweet. “To all who sing / watch, there is none.”