Peewee hockey game turns ugly as fans hurl racist taunts at First Nations team

This is despicable. Will something be done?!

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This is the type of news that will make you sick. Hopefully, folks reading this all across America will never act this way and will put the taunting to an end if they witness it. 

According to CBC, a peewee hockey game turned ugly in Neepawa last weekend as local fans hurled racists taunts at 11-year-old kids playing for a Manitoban team. 

Tanis Brandon was watching the game in the stands when she heard players and parents taunting her 12-year-old son's team, the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. The team was playing the Neepawa Natives at Neepawa's Yellowhead Centre on Saturday. Neepawa is about 170 km northwest of Winnipeg.

"We heard many parents saying 'those boys are just going to get drunk, maybe they're drunk now. They're probably hungover. Look at how they're playing,'" said Brandon, who is also the team's assistant manager, who noted the name-calling started in the first period of the contest. 
"My son has long hair, they were teasing him about his hair," she said. "In our culture, our hair is our strength… For somebody to use our race and our culture against us... I hope he doesn't want to cut it."

The atmosphere in the arena got to the players as both teams started getting penalties. Brandon said referees directed coaches from both teams to talk to their players to clean up the physical play.

However, the third period never got started: the game was cancelled before the puck dropped in the last period, leaving one Wolverines player to say that he never wants to go back to Neepawa again. 

"They're only 12, 11 years old. It's going to affect them when they're older, I know it is," said Brandon.

"(My son) had a lot of questions. He didn't know why we're called savages. He didn't understand the stereotypes about Natives being drunks. I had a lot of explaining to do," added Brandon. 

The final score was 10-2 in favour of the Neepawa team. Brandon believes there were about 150 fans in the stands and said about a dozen were heckling her team's players.

Hockey Manitoba said it's aware of what happened at Saturday's game and has spoken to bothsides.

"Our initial investigation has revealed it appears comments have been made in both directions," said executive director, Peter Woods in an email.
"Hockey Manitoba is concerned when members may be exposed to an unsafe environment and we are always looking out for the welfare of our members whether that is physical, mental or emotional in nature," he said.

The president of the Neepawa Minor Hockey Association Jamie Denbow said the team and the community of Neepawa take the allegations of racism seriously.

"We have got Polish, Ukrainian, Metis, English, Irish, Scottish, First Nation, Filipino just on our own hockey team.

"The organization, the team, the community is very accepting of any race, religion, colour, sexual orientation, you can keep going on and on, we are very open in endorsing the support of our community."

While Brandon advised her son not to carry a grudge, she remains worried that this will have a lasting negative impact on the young hockey players. The parents of the Wolverines are hoping that the next game against the Neepawa Natives will be a better experience for both teams.