December 13, 2023
AHL Coach Banned for Using Anti-Gay Slur
Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.
Another sports coach is being disciplined for using anti-gay language. Chicago Wolves coach Bob Nardella has reportedly been suspended 10 games by the American Hockey League for using anti-gay language toward officials Saturday during a game at the Texas Stars.
As reported by ESPN, it was during third period when one of Nardella's players received a double-minor penalty for high-sticking. After the coach protested, he was given a bench minor penalty and a game misconduct for abuse of officials, including using anti-gay language.
The decision to suspend Nardella "as a consequence of his actions" was reportedly made by AHL president Scott Howson.
"The American Hockey League is committed to building a culture that is safe, inclusive and free from abuse, harassment and all forms of unethical behavior or misconduct," the league said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Nardella in turn released a statement in which he denied using anti-gay language.
"I want to state clearly that I condemn any form of homophobic language or conduct," he said. "I am a passionate and emotional coach who stands behind my players and my organization when I feel they are wronged. I accept that I lost my temper, and I was wrong to do that. I have tremendous respect for the officials and the work they do, and for the league and those involved. I regret that I did lose my temper and that is not how a coach should act. But I would like to set the record straight that I did not say what I am accused of saying."
Nardella is allowed to participate in practices during his suspension on non-game days. Nardella was a player for the Wolves for seven seasons until he retired in 2006. Then he spent 7 years as an assistant coach before becoming head coach.
"I have had the honor of working in and around professional hockey for more than 30 years," he said in the statement. "In all of those years, I've done my best to make hockey a safe space for everyone involved. The accusations made against me are incredibly upsetting because that is not the type of person I am. I look forward to returning to the bench and continuing the season, and I will remain a vocal advocate against all forms of discrimination in hockey."