All Rights reserved
The American Hockey League announced Wednesday it has suspended Rochester Americans forward Ben Holmstrom for eight games for using antigay language.
Holmstrom, 34, made the comments at the end of the first period of a home game on March 30 against the Utica Comets, according to The Associated Press.
"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 said in a statement, reported by The Hockey News.
The hockey player previously played for the Philadelphia Flyers and played hockey in college while at UMass Lowell. He's already served two games of the suspension. He'll return to play against the Hartford Wolf Pack in late April.
AHL officials told the AP that as part of his punishment Holmstrom will have to take part in "diversity and inclusive education."
"We were made aware of an inappropriate comment made by one of our players in a recent game. Once aware, we took immediate action through numerous conversations with the player, team, and league," general manager of the Rochester Americans, Jason Karmanos, said in a statement to local TV station WHAM. "To be clear, we have no tolerance for any form of hate and regret any harm his comment inflicted. We strive to maintain an inclusive environment in which our differences are celebrated."
The Hockey News reports that this isn't the first suspension for a player over using hateful language at an opponent this season.
In January, San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik received a 30-game suspension after directing a racial gesture at Tuscon Roadrunners forward Boko Imama during a game.