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Pro Hockey Coach Dealt Hefty Suspension for Using Homophobic Slur Against a Referee

American Hockey League Chicago Wolves coach Bob Nardella suspended Homophobic Language Against AHL Referee
Images: chicagowolves.com; Shutterstock

Bob Nardella of the AHL's Chicago Wolves, who was suspended for 10 games, denies using homophobic language.

A coach in the American Hockey League has been suspended 10 games for using homophobic language against a referee.

Head coach of the Chicago Wolves, Bob Nardella, became agitated by a penalty call during the final period of the team's game against the Texas Stars on Saturday. In disputing the call, Nardella allegedly directed an anti-gay slur at a referee, and was given a game misconduct for abuse of officials.

The AHL, which is the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League, announced in a statement Tuesday that Nardella was given a 10 game suspension "as a consequence of his actions," which they claimed included "homophobic language."

“The American Hockey League is committed to building a culture that is safe, inclusive and free from abuse, harassment and all forms of unethical behavior or misconduct,” the league wrote. “During the suspension, Nardella will be permitted to participate in team practices on non-game days; he will be eligible to return to the Wolves bench on Jan. 6.”

Nardella issued a statement Wednesday in which he said that while he regretted losing his temper, he "firmly" denies making a homophobic remark and condemns "all forms of discrimination in hockey.”

"I regret that I did lose my temper and that is not how a coach should act. But I would like to set the record straight that I did not say what I am accused of saying," he said. "I have had the honor of working in and around professional hockey for more than 30 years. In all of those years, I've done my best to make hockey a safe space for everyone involved. The accusations made against me are incredibly upsetting because that is not the type of person I am."

The Chicago Wolves, which are not affiliated with any NHL team, have celebrated LGBTQ+ pride as an organization for several years. The team wrote in their own statement they "do not tolerate derogatory language of any kind on and off the ice."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.