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Alberni Valley Bulldogs remove broadcaster midway through game for racist comment about player

The veteran colour commentator has apologized for his words, saying: “Racism has no place in hockey or anywhere else in this world. I’m truly sorry.”
The BCHL released a statement apologizing to Owen Kim and his family

Bruce MacDonald, the veteran broadcast colour commentator of Alberni Valley Bulldogs games in the B.C. Hockey League, was expelled from the booth at the end of the second period Friday night for making a racist comment on air.

The Bulldogs won the second-round playoff game 2-1 but the result was overshadowed by the off-ice comment referring to Langley Riverman forward Owen Kim.

MacDonald has been barred from any future broadcasts of BCHL games. He has apologized for what he said.

David Michaud, president and governor of the Bulldogs, referred to the 70-foot banner on the wall of the concourse in Weyerhaeuser Arena in Port Alberni, which reads: “There is no place in hockey for racism.” He said there was no other choice to be made if his club wants to live up to those words.

“It was a regrettable comment and we could not turn a blind eye to it,” Michaud said Saturday as his club, which has been in the Alberni Valley since 2002, was on the ferry travelling to play in Game 6 of the playoff series in Langley.

“How do we as a club take part in events such as Orange Shirt Day, and other anti-racism initiatives all over the valley, and then not react to something like this?”

Michaud was watching Game 5 live in the rink. He removed MacDonald from the broadcast booth at the end of the second period when informed of his comment, which was made midway through the period during an incident of pushing and shoving between the teams on the ice.

The Bulldogs play-by-play announcer, Evan Hammond, instantly called out MacDonald on-air for his comment by saying: “OK, come on, that’s too far. No, that’s too far.”

Rivermen rookie Kim, 17, was born in North Vancouver and is committed to Holy Cross University of Worcester, Massachusetts, in the U.S. collegiate NCAA Division 1.

The BCHL released a statement apologizing to Kim and his family, “as well as anyone else who may have heard the comment.”

“We have a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and Mr. MacDonald is banned from any future broadcast involving the Bulldogs or any other BCHL team.”

Radio station 93.3 The Peak, which broadcasts the Bulldogs games, also apologized. Rob Bye, general-manager Vancouver Island for Pattison Media Ltd., called MacDonald’s comments “extremely offensive” and “inappropriate.”

“Racism has no place in hockey. Racism has no place on our radio stations nor in our company,” he said in a statement.

He added: “We stand with the BCHL and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and would like to sincerely apologize to Owen Kim, his family, the Langley Rivermen, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the BCHL, and our listeners.”

MacDonald, in a statement, said he emailed an apology to the Rivermen on Friday night.

“It was important to me to try and reach out to Owen Kim first privately,” he said.

“No one should be made to feel that way and I take full responsibility for my racist words. I’m deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused Owen Kim, his family, and anyone else who was affected by what I said.”

He also offered an apology to the “fans and community,” adding: “I am so sorry that I have let you down. The Bulldogs have been a part of my life since Day 1. I am heartbroken that I caused it to end this way. I will do whatever I can to make this right. Racism has no place in hockey or anywhere else in this world. I’m truly sorry.”

Michaud acknowledged MacDonald’s apology, saying: “Sorry is good but words still have consequences.”

He also gave credit to the way Evan handled the incidident by speaking out and condemning the comment.

The Rivermen led the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Saturday night in Langley. Game 7, if required, will be Monday evening in Port Alberni.