Mi'kmaw hockey player returns to ice after racist taunts

Logan Prosper hit the ice Saturday in Cape Breton less than a week after enduring racist slurs from opponents and parents during a minor hockey game.

The 16-year-old Mi'kmaw forward and his Cape Breton West Islanders midget A teammates, as well as players on the opposing team, had red tape on their sticks and wore red ties to raise awareness about racism.  

"Seeing all the other teams do it and especially seeing my own team, knowing they have my back and supporting me, just means so much," said Prosper, who is from Whycocomagh, N.S.

Prosper, a forward, said he was recently taunted by players from the Northside Vikings midget A team during a game in Chéticamp. The comments included things like, 'You look like a turd," and, "all Natives look like turds."

"That moment kind of traumatized me ...  but I am trying to leave that incident behind me and keep it as a learning experience," he said Saturday night. 

CBC

Mary Prosper, Logan's mother, said the family had some anxiety before heading to the rink.

Logan even forgot his skates and there was a scramble to find another pair that fit. But she said in the end, it was great to be back. 

"It's an awesome feeling. Everybody supporting Logan, I have no words.… just proud that he's made such a huge impact on everyone," she said.

Logan Prosper said it's been "surreal" reflecting on the responses of support he's received in the past week from players, coaches and people who heard about his story — all of it positive.

NHL players have reached out and shared his story. Messages have come in from people around the world. 

"It's going to change a lot," said Prosper. "It really means a lot. I can tell hockey is changing by the day, especially even in the NHL."

Prosper did a live interview on Friday with a Mohawk radio station in Washington D.C.  

"They said they get so much backlash [for running an Indigenous station] and I told them we're in this together," he said. 

Prosper's team won Saturday's game. Logan's father, Phillip Prosper, said it was nice to be able to focus on the game after last week's experience.

"It's our happy place. We're happy to be here ...We just wanted to get back to hockey," he said. 

Gary Mansfield/CBC

Hockey Nova Scotia has committed to setting up a task force made up of individuals from under-represented communities, to help inform the group's policies and procedures.

An official from the organization was also at the game Saturday night in Coxheath, N.S. He was questioning players, coaches and parents who may have witnessed last week's incident.

Phillip Prosper has already met with officials and said.he's confident about the investigation. 

"They're being very thorough, I'm pretty sure they're going to get to the bottom of it," he said. "I know there's no way to completely end racism but if we can get it down a lot lower than it is, that's just A-plus."

The Prospers say it's been heartening to see photos of teams taking up the red-tape movement and they hope it'll continue.

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