The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 27, 2022 1:00 pm

ECHL suspends Panetta remainder of season, though it can be reduced

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The ECHL suspended Jacob Panetta the remainder of the season, which amounts to 38 games, for a racially insensitive gesture he made Saturday while playing for the Jacksonville Icemen.

Panetta can apply for a reduction of the suspension after March 17, pending completion of a “learning experience conducted in conjunction with the (NHL’s) Player Inclusion Committee,” the ECHL said Thursday.

Panetta made a monkey-like gesture toward the South Carolina Stingray’s Jordan Subban, as officials tried to separate the two during overtime of a game in Jacksonville, Florida.

Panetta apologized on social media Sunday and said his gesture wasn’t racially motivated, that he was making a bodybuilder-like motion to imply Subban shouldn’t act like a tough guy.

“Insensitive actions and gestures, regardless of intent, cannot be tolerated in our game,” ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin said in a news release Thursday. “We all need to learn and grow from this incident, and remain steadfast to further educating and advancing our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our league.”

Panetta, 26, a defenseman, had five goals and 17 points in 31 games this season for the Icemen, who released him on Sunday. He remains a free agent.

This comes in the wake of the American Hockey League suspending Krystof Hrabik 30 games for a Jan. 12 incident. And former Komets defenseman Jalen Smereck was targeted by a taunt in September from Andrei Deniskin, who was suspended for 13 Ukraine league games.

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