By: Erika Stanish
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A female goalie made her way back onto the ice for the first time on Saturday after Armstrong students were heard chanting vulgar and sexist phrases toward her during a game last week.
The chants happened during a game between the Mars Fightin' Planets and the Armstrong River Hawks.
The Mars Hockey Club called what happened unacceptable saying the entire hockey community must now work to take steps to be sure this never happens again.
The incident has gained national attention and ultimately ended with the banning of the students involved from attending hockey games at the Belmont Complex for the remainder of the season.
On Saturday afternoon, she once again took the ice for the first time since the incident, suiting up for her travel team, the Arctic Foxes, for a game in the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League.
Supporters were in the stands cheering her on.
The Youth Hockey Coordinator at the RMU Sports Complex said he's hopeful this incident can be a teachable moment for other leagues to promote sportsmanship at a younger age so these kinds of incidents don't happen again.
"I would like to see people be nice to each other," Joe Cummings said. "You see a lot of it. We should shut out hate. There's just a lot of hate. Like I said earlier, those kids at that game, I don't know if they realized how bad what they were saying was. And hopefully, they learn. They understand that's not something to be said in public out loud."
The Mars Hockey Club Board of Directors echoed that statement in a statement released on Saturday.
"The Mars Hockey Club wishes to honor and protect the privacy of our goalie. Our top priority is to facilitate a safe and healthy environment where she, and all of our student-athletes, can continue to do what they love: play hockey.
Clearly, the incident that happened on October 28 was completely unacceptable and the entire hockey community must take steps to ensure that any similar conduct will never happen again. We are hopeful that the attention this incident has drawn will shed light on the issues our female athletes face which must not be tolerated and that this attention will help with eliminating this type of conduct from our sport.
We are appreciative of the outpouring of support for her and join the many in voicing our support. We are proud of our goalie both as a student-athlete and for her resilience in persevering through these events. Above all, we look forward to having her back on the ice having fun, and stopping pucks for Mars."
A large crowd is expected at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex to cheer her on for her high school game on Monday night at 8:00.
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