Canada’s Jacob Panetta suspended indefinitely by ECHL for apparent racist gesture

The ECHL acted swiftly Sunday, suspending Jacksonville Icemen defenceman Jacob Panetta indefinitely, pending a hearing, for an apparent racial gesture toward fellow Canadian Jordan Subban of the South Carolina Stingrays during Saturday night’s game.

Video of the incident 23 seconds into overtime in the Florida city shows Panetta, from Belleville, Ont., appearing to raise his arms toward his side while looking at Subban, also a defenceman and a native of Rexdale, Ont.

According to the Florida-Times Union, the game report indicates the officiating crew assessed Panetta’s two game misconduct penalties for continuing an altercation and for “inciting,” under ECHL Rule 75.5, which applies to “obscene gestures on the ice or anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game.”

After the game, Subban accused Panetta of making a monkey gesture. His older brother P.K., an NHL defenceman with the New Jersey Devils, took to Twitter to react to the incident at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We all know what’s ok and what’s not,” continued the elder Subban. “Even your own teammates wanted to see you get your clock cleaned. This happens a lot and it never gets exposed in the lower leagues. One thing that I love about this is Jordan’s teammates standing in there and showing support. Love that.”

Jordan Subban further share some thoughts on social media.

“More like [Panetta] was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I  began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him  in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Subban 
wrote to his Twitter account.

Jacksonville currently has no Black players on its active roster after goalie Charles Williams was summoned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League earlier this month.

Saturday’s incident occurred one day after the American Hockey League barred San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik for 30 games following a racial gesture toward another player earlier this month.

Panetta, 26, is a regular with the South Division-leading Icemen after appearing in six games in his rookie season a year ago.

The longest suspension in franchise history is 16 games, handed to Emerson Clark in January 2020 for physical abuse of an on-ice official.

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