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Westchester Youth Hockey Team Says Opponents Attacked Them With Anti-Semitic Comments During Game

RIVERDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A youth hockey team says their players were attacked with anti-Semitic comments during a game over the weekend.

Now there are calls for players to be suspended.

Steven Borenstein says his 13-year-old son loves playing hockey for the Scarsdale Raiders.

"The kids learn a lot about life, but unfortunately you learn the good things and the bad things," Borenstein said.

Regrettably, he says his son and teammates learned a painful lesson about anti-Semitism during a home game at the Westchester Skating Academy is Elmsford. Their opponents were the North Park hockey team.

"One of the kids calling one of the Raider kids a Jew. He had heard somebody say 'go back to synagogue.' He was very disappointed that kids his age would use words like this."

"One of the guys were told, 'Disgusting Jew,'" Gary Sipos said.

Sipos was at the game. His son also plays for the Raiders.

Sipos says he saw a referee dismissing a player who complained about the hateful words.

He was compelled to inform his rabbi, Avi Weiss at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Rabbi Weiss emailed a letter to the league commissioners condemning the alleged anti-Semitic behavior – calling for players to be suspended.

"Words lead to deeds and anti-Semitic slurs cannot be taken lightly especially in contemporary times," Weiss said. "We must turn this into a learning moment and there must be consequences."

The league commissioners didn't respond to the rabbi, but both teams did, expressing concern. The Scarsdale Youth Hockey Board telling CBS2 it's conducting an investigation.

Sipos says the players shouldn't be punished – they should be enlightened.

"Maybe a little more kindness and understanding and maybe a little more education could prevent these things from happening," Sipos said.

NYSAHA East Section President David Mensi issued the following statement:

"The East Section of New York State Hockey is investigating reports of religious slurs made during a game that took place on Sunday, November 17, 2019, between teams from North Park Youth Hockey and Scarsdale Youth Hockey. As East Section President, I am working with the two associations, and the game officials, to determine the facts related in the reports we have received. We expect to complete this investigation promptly, and, if appropriate, a disciplinary hearing will be held pursuant to the Rules of NYS Hockey and USA Hockey regarding any individual believed to have engaged in improper conduct."

The North Park Hockey Association also released a statement of its own:

"There were reports in the news last night of anti-Semitic behavior taking place in a North Park vs Scarsdale 14U game on Sunday in Westchester. We are taking this matter extremely seriously. We have no tolerance for hate and discrimination at North Park. We are working with the Scarsdale Hockey Club and the Hudson Valley Hockey League to gather the facts so we can take appropriate action, if action is warranted. Regardless of what happened, we are going to use this as a moment to educate our players on this important issue, as this is clearly about much more than hockey. We will update everyone once the Scarsdale Hockey Club, the Hudson Valley Hockey League and North Park completes our collective investigation into what happened."

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