San Jose Sharks minor leaguer apologizes for making racist gesture after the AHL gave him a 30-game suspension

San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik released a public apology Friday night, hours after the AHL offered him a 30-game suspension for making a racist gesture towards Tucson Roadrunners left wing Boko Imama, who is Black. The event, which Hrabik stated he’s “embarrassed” of, happened throughout the Roadrunners’ 4-3 win on Jan. 12. 

In a declaration, Hrabik stated he’s “ashamed” by the suspension and takes “full responsibility” for his actions. Hrabik didn’t, nevertheless, confess to having any racist intent upon making the gesture.  

“People should know that I had absolutely no inappropriate intent,” Hrabik stated. “The gesture was made in the heat of battle and while I didn’t mean anything racist by what I did, I realize now through my own ignorance how my gesture could be interpreted. I alone am responsible for that, it was terrible, and I make no excuses. When I heard about Boko’s reaction to the gesture, I was horrified by what I had done.

“Boko is a gamer I appreciate and I am so sorry for putting him through this scenario. I sent out an individual apology to Boko and regards hope that he will forgive me. I likewise wish to say sorry to the American Hockey League, the San Jose Barracuda, the Tucson Roadrunners, and to my colleagues for my inappropriate actions.” 

Roadrunners personnel notified the AHL of Hrabik directing a monkey gesture towards Imama after their Jan. 12 video game, and the league verified the event through video. An examination released the following day, and beginning then the Barracuda kept Hrabik from all group activities. 

The San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate will now lose Hrabik till a minimum of April 3 while he serves the suspension. Hrabik, who’s currently served 3 video games of the suspension, can get early reinstatement on March 12 “based on an evaluation of his progress in the necessary education and training with the Player Inclusion Committee.”

Hrabik stated he will not appeal the AHL’s choice in his declaration. 

“The Barracuda and San Jose Sharks organizations were appalled to learn of this incident,” the Barracuda stated in a declaration. “We offer our sincerest apologies to Boko, the Roadrunners organization, the AHL, our fans, and the entire hockey community. While we support the ability for individuals to atone and learn from disrespectful incidents in this context, these actions are in direct opposition to the Sharks and Barracuda organizations’ values.”

This isn’t Imama’s very first encounter with racist habits in the AHL. Brandon Manning, then a defenseman with the Ontario Reign, got a five-game suspension from the league after directing a racial slur towards Imama in January 2020. The 2 dropped gloves when their groups satisfied weeks later on. 

“The AHL stands with Boko Imama,” AHL president Scott Howson stated in a declaration. “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.”

Imama, a 27-year-old previous Tampa Bay Lightning draft choice, has 8 points (4 objectives, 4 helps) over 27 video games with the Roadrunners this season. Hrabik, 22, has actually scored 4 points (one objective, 3 helps) through 21 video games with the Barracuda. 

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