The Soo Greyhounds have removed a banner with the retired number of former star goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck from the rafters at their home arena, prompting praise from another former star, Trevor Daley.
Vanbiesbrouck, who was a star with the club in the early 1980s, was coach and part-owner of the team during the 2003 season when the then-19-year-old Daley served as captain of the team.
Vanbiesbrouck, was at the billet home of a couple of other players when he used the N-word in reference to Daley.
Within days, Vanbiesbrouck resigned from the club before selling his share of the team.
Greyhounds owner Tim Lukenda told the Sault Star that the team was “not trying to make a big deal” about the removal and said they felt it was the right thing to do.
A team spokesperson told Global News that “the Soo Greyhounds work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our guests, players, former players and families.”
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They went on to explain that the club was updating their jersey numbers on display at GFL Arena and said they decided it was time to no longer have Vanbiesbrouck’s on display. The jersey #1 remains retired and will not be worn by any other Greyhound in the future.
Global News has asked the team when the jersey removal took place and why the team took down Vanbiesbrouck’s jersey but left it retired and has not yet received a response.
After his time playing for the Soo, Daley, who is from Toronto, went on to play in more than 1,000 NHL games with four different organizations.
Daley issued a statement praising the move by the team through the Hockey Diversity Alliance, of which he is a member.
The two-time Stanley Cup winner says that he calls Sault Ste. Marie home and still returns to the city every summer.
“Hockey, for the most part, has given me amazing opportunities that I am so grateful for,” Daley wrote. “The one very dark and racist moment of my hockey career is something that I had to relive each time I returned to the Gardens and looked up to the rafters. The next time I enter the Gardens, look up, and not have to relive one of the worst moments of my life eliminates a major source of anger and frustration for both me and my family.”
After a lengthy NHL career, Daley now works in the Pittsburgh Penguins front office.
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