By: KDKA-TV's Jessica Guay and Shelley Bortz
ARMSTRONG, Pa. (KDKA) - A strong statement came from Armstrong County commissioners in response to a video that surfaced of students shouting vulgar names and phrases at a female high school hockey player during a game last week.
County commissioners say it will not happen again. They're calling it a zero-tolerance policy. Effective immediately, no students from grades 7 through 12 are allowed at the Belmont Complex for River Hawk varsity or middle school games.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League also announced disciplinary measures. Armstrong students in 9th through 12th grade are not allowed to attend their school's varsity hockey games for the rest of the season, including playoffs.
The moves come after a video surfaced on social media last week during a game between the Mars Fighting Planets and the Armstrong River Hawks. Armstrong students could be heard loud and clear chanting sexist and vulgar phrases at the Mars female goalie.
Eddie Germy, head coach for Armstrong River Hawks, said the steps taken by the PIHL and county commissioners were the right call.
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"I'm OK with that because it shouldn't have happened, it should have been stopped. For our kids, they enjoy having the student section here but not something like that," said Germy.
The ban on students doesn't apply to siblings of hockey players. They're still allowed at the games but they have to be accompanied by a parent and seated with them. In addition, if a fan is removed from the complex by staff or security they will not be allowed back in for the remainder of the season.
"It's pretty embarrassing for the whole community, the organization, something that should never happen. My heart, I have three girls at home, we have a girl in our organization. I felt horrible for her. She didn't have to go through that at all," said Germy.
Coach Germy hopes everyone learns a lesson from this.
"There's no need for that in hockey, there's no need for that in life. Be kind, treat people the way you want to be treated. It was unfortunate, wish that it could have been avoided, but it happened. I hope everybody can learn from it and we can move on, just get better," he said.
Coach Germy said his team has reached out to the Mars player and they support the goalie 100 percent.
Meanwhile, a local hockey mom has taken it upon herself to also do something to show her support for the goalie.
Samantha Dankmyere has a 13-year old daughter who plays hockey with boys and knows just how cruel they can be. Dankmeyer created a logo and all she asks is that people share it online and share it often.
"These girls that are playing are playing one, because they love the sport, and two, to prove they are athletes. For me, that was the inspiration for it, is that I have a daughter, she's an athlete and I want her to be seen as an athlete and treated as an athlete," said Dankmyere.
As support continues to grow for the goalie, the Mars game on Monday has been moved to the Penguins practice facility in Cranberry in anticipation of a huge turnout. KDKA's Shelley Bortz was told everyone is encouraged to wear white shirts.
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