On February 2, an incident occurred during a hockey game between the Acadia University Axemen and St. Francis Xavier University X-Men that is unacceptable. As we indicated in our last communication, we would not make further public comment until Atlantic University Sport rendered its decision on discipline. We accept today’s ruling by AUS. At no time does violence in any form have a place in sport or in society in general.
Acadia acknowledges that one of our student-athletes made an inappropriate comment containing a particular word to a StFX student-athlete during the third period of Saturday’s game – a play on which a penalty to Acadia was assessed. The Acadia student-athlete admitted and took responsibility immediately after the game and extended an apology. This information was shared with AUS. Acadia disputes that the comment was made deliberately or that it was made with the intent and in the context in which it has been portrayed in mainstream and social media. Acadia’s student-athlete looks forward to the opportunity of providing this information to the review of the events currently being conducted by AUS.
Furthermore, reports that inappropriate comments are an on-going on-ice issue are inaccurate and we feel compelled to set the record straight. Two years ago, StFX brought to Acadia’s attention that it believed inappropriate comments were made to a StFX player on the ice. They were dealt with at that time and there have been no such incidents since then. Those earlier incidents occurred before the Acadia student-athlete involved in Saturday’s incident joined its hockey program.
Published statements on February 4 by StFX have led to an outpouring of comments and commentary, including personal threats directed to members of the Acadia community, that are a reaction to a narrative that simply is not true. This public dialogue has had a particularly direct negative impact on two student-athletes, one on each campus, and their families, and we appreciate that both institutions are concerned for their well-being and are providing support. At Acadia, our focus at this time is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and to participate fully in the AUS review underway. We are confident this review will reveal the facts surrounding Saturday evening’s incident.
We are acutely aware of the importance of making every effort to eliminate sexual violence and re-victimization of survivors everywhere in our society. We believe our student-athletes, coaches, and every member of the Acadia community have an obligation to act as role models in our communities and this standard was not met on Saturday night.
Acadia and StFX are working together to address the events that have transpired and will be making a joint statement at an appropriate time in the future.