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Barracuda prospect Krystof Hrabik has been suspended for 30 games by the AHL for a racial gesture aimed towards Boko Imama. The incident occurred while the San Jose Barracuda hosted the Tucson Roadrunners on January 12.
ESPN reported that Czechia native Hrabik “imitated a monkey’s movements towards Imama, who is Black.”
Hrabik imitated a monkey’s movements towards Imama, who is Black. It was spotted by the Roadrunners bench and confirmed via video of the game.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 21, 2022
It’s not entirely clear what set off the incident: But in the second period, San Jose’s Patrick Holway was in a fight with Blake Speers, then San Jose Sharks prospect Dillon Hamaliuk and Imama exchanged some words.
“Now Hrabik comes over, now Boko Imama is pushing and shoving with Dillon Hamaliuk. Imama takes a wide turn,” Barracuda play-by-play voice Nick Nollenberger said on the broadcast. “Now, he gives a straight shove to Hrabik. Imama is one of the tougher guys in the division. Now Hamaliuk and Imama are still barking at one another.”
At some point, Krystof Hrabik made a gesture that wasn’t clear on the AHL Live feed, but was caught “by the Roadrunners bench and confirmed via video of the game.”
Tucson’s Steve Barron then went after Hrabik:
AHL TV feed did not show everything, but the camera abruptly cut to the bench, where Hrabik and Barron get tangled up. Roadrunners players clearly yelling at Hrabik at 15 seconds. pic.twitter.com/N9gGqPuCYH
— Skateboard B (@BDFwrites) January 21, 2022
The officials, apparently, did not see this gesture. The Barracuda actually came away with a power play because Imama was sent off for roughing.
Hrabik has not been in the line-up for the last three Barracuda contests and they are included in his 30-game suspension, per the AHL. He is eligible to return on Apr. 3 with the opportunity to appeal for a reduced suspension on Mar. 12, should he complete work with the NHL’s Player Inclusion Committee.
“The AHL stands with Boko Imama,” AHL president Scott Howson declared. “It is unfair that any player should be subjected to comments or gestures based on their race; they should be judged only on their ability to perform as a player on the ice, as a teammate in the locker room, and as a member of their community.”
The San Jose Sharks and San Jose Barracuda released a joint statement, condemning Hrabik’s racial gesture.
Statement from the San Jose Barracuda and San Jose Sharks Organizations pic.twitter.com/0lYaLuDbUl
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) January 21, 2022
Krystof Hrabik re-signed with the Barracuda in Jun. 2021. The 22-year-old forward originally signed with the organization in Oct. 2019, after two years with the Tri-City Americans. He served as Tri-City’s captain in 2019-20 and has also represented Czechia at multiple international tournaments.
Both Hrabik and Imama each put out statements:
Krystof Hrabik, suspended today by the AHL, releases a statement where he apologizes to Boko Imama, accepts responsibility and “will do everything in my power to atone.” pic.twitter.com/2XLH31TeVL
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 22, 2022
Enough is enough! pic.twitter.com/bETzUXEPGo
— Boko Imama (@bokojr) January 22, 2022
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