LA youth hockey team suspended after anti-semitic video surfaces

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Junior Kings youth hockey organization has suspended 15 players and three coaches on their 14U team after a nine-second video surfaced on social media that showed a player engaging in a Nazi salute. Other players on the team were heard making hateful comments about Jews.

"This is L.A. and it's multicultural, and it just seems so backwards for what we experience and know today," said Sheena Parks, whose son plays at the same hockey facility.

The L.A. Junior Kings are not affiliated with the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, but the team gives the Jr. Kings rights to use their logo and operate out of their El Segundo training facility, the Toyota Sports Center. The L.A. Jr. Kings organization has 26 teams and the kids seen in the video are on one of their teams, all 14 years old.

"The coaching staff here, from what I've experienced, are fantastic and very serious. I couldn't put this on the coaches. These are just kids being punk kids and they may have seen something online that they're repeating," said Parks.

In a statement, the President of L.A. Jr. Kings Hockey Steve Yovetich said, "The events on March 9 are regretful to many, especially the players and parents. We will work together to educate and grow, and in this regard lead with action."

"Utter disbelief and shock," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Hier, with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has invited the hockey players to visit the museum of tolerance where they would meet with holocaust survivors.

"These are young people who made a mistake, but fortunately, it's early enough in their lives that they can still learn and make a difference and become, instead of proponents of hate, apostles of tolerance and human dignity," said Hier.

The suspensions will continue until the Safesport investigation is complete, which could bring further disciplinary action. Safesport is a nonprofit committed to ending abuse in sports.
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