100 Mile House Wranglers coach Dale Hladun. File photo.

100 Mile House Wranglers coach Dale Hladun. File photo.

100 Mile House Wranglers head coach chips in on Nelson Leafs/Kamloops Storm racial incident

‘That shouldn’t be anywhere in the game’

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) had its share of controversy over the weekend after a coach from the Nelson Leafs accused a visiting player from the Kamloops Storm of using racial taunting during the Leafs 4-2 win on Nov. 2.

“That shouldn’t be anywhere in the game. I mean, the game is competitive and I get it. You want to have an edge sometimes mentally and there’s a little bit of trash talk. But also why does it have to be so personal? That is cutting too deep. There’s no place for it, there’s just none,” said Dale Hladun, the head coach and general manager of the 100 Mile House Wranglers.

Nelson’s assistant coach, Adam DiBella, declined to name the players involved in the incident but had similar ideas about racial language, also saying there was no place for it in hockey and society.

RELATED: Junior hockey game in Nelson ends with accusation of racist taunts

DiBella also said he complained to the officiating crew during the game, however, the referees and linesmen never made a call or just didn’t hear anything.

“I don’t blame the refs one bit,” he said. “They told me they’d look out for it, but they can’t make a call they didn’t hear.”

Steve Gainey, the head coach of the Kamloops Storm, said he didn’t hear anything from the officials. He said the whole incident may have been a misunderstanding between the two players.

“One of the things that came out was he said, ‘We’re back, baby’ and the kid took it as “We black, baby.” So I think there’s a place where the kid might be a little sensitive and maybe had it happen in the past, which is understandable.”

Gainey said the coaching staff looked at it on the bench when the issue came up and said it was something they would take seriously within the Kamloops Storm organization. According to him, nobody on his team said anything like that came out when Gainey challenged them.

Both DiBella and Gainey were tossed from the game late in the third period.

Hladun said coaches can’t hear everything that happens on the ice, and has had players in the past who have been victimized by racial comments and insensitivity.

“We’ve heard it from other teams,” said Hladun. “When you are the coach you can’t hear everything that’s said on the ice. You can hear from the bench, but you can’t hear everything so I don’t want to proclaim or say that we’re squeaky clean. I just didn’t know. Generally, if the linesmen and the referee hear it they do make comments to the coaching staff and say ‘hey, your players shouldn’t be talking like that. Please clean that up.’ I’ve been around it but it’s just disappointing overall.”

Hladun went on to call such behaviour as weak.

“If that’s how you’re trying to get a step on somebody through that kind of language, you’re just mentally weak, you’re just a sad player and that’s pathetic. It’s disappointing to hear that but it does occur.”

The incident got more bizarre. Gainey told Kamloops This Week that Nelson’s players surrounded their bus after the game with five cars. DiBella disputed this in the Nelson Star, telling them that this never happened and Gainey was not telling the truth. He went as far as saying “that’s a poor excuse for bad conduct by their coaching staff.”

Hladun mentioned that the whole issue could make for some awkward locker room situations in the future.

“What’s sad is when these guys are trash-talking that hard and being so cutthroat. What’s bizarre is any given week there could be player trades and that guy could be your teammate in a weekend or that guy could be your teammate if you move up to Jr. somewhere or college. How could you just turn that off?”

—With files from Tyler Harper of the Nelson Star and Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Jethro Rolland, 8, and Guinevere Rolland, 6, test out the ice at the new outdoor rink in 100 Mile House. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Outdoor ice rinks popular Cariboo pastime

The skaters are out this winter across the South Cariboo.

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read