The East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) announced today that they’ve suspended Pittsburgh Penguins‘ prospect and Wheeling Nailers forward Keven Veilleux for 10 games and a fine of an undisclosed amount.
The suspension is a result of Veilleux’s inappropriate comments (a racial slur) directed toward South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Scooter Vaughn during the Nailers Jan. 13 game against the Stingrays. Apparently the two had dropped the gloves twice during the third period and the incident occurred when they were sitting in the penalty box after the first fight.
The ECHL firmly states their intolerance for such comments and actions by its players on the league’s official webpage:
The ECHL will not tolerate incidents of this nature as all players in the League shall be afforded a level of respect and right to function in a workplace free of racial intolerance. The ECHL will continue to hold all players responsible for their actions/comments regardless of previous events that may have taken place. It is the expectation and understanding of the ECHL that the Wheeling organization will undertake internal measures to provide training and education course(s) to the parties involved to further address and remedy the situation.
The suspension keeps Veilleux out of the Nailers lineup through the first full week of February (Feb. 7) and eligible to return to the ice for the Nailers’ Feb. 9 game against the Reading Royals.
The punishment is a strong statement from the league, but it’s one that is necessary if they want to avoid these incidents of racism from occurring again. The Nailers organization issued a statement to The Intelligencer:
”The Wheeling Nailers organization supports the actions taken by the league in this matter,” the team statement continued. ”Wheeling Nailers management, staff and players will have no further comment on the incident.”
Veilleux also issued an apology to Vaughn and the Stingrays that was included in The Intelligencer’s article:
”During Sunday’s game with the South Carolina Stingrays I used inappropriate language toward Scooter Vaughn,” Veilleux said in a statement issued by the Nailers. ”I have contacted Scooter and apologized to him directly. I also want to apologize to the South Carolina Stingrays, to the Wheeling Nailers, to the Wheeling community and to all of our fans.
”I am responsible for my actions and am truly sorry. I promise that I will learn from this experience.”
Let’s hope that Veilleux isn’t the only one taking the ECHL’s punishment / statement to heart and players in all sports can avoid such incidents in the future, but something tells me that won’t necessarily be the case since this isn’t the first occurrence or punishment handed out for an incident of racism.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.