The following article appeared on ClickonDetroit on March 30, 2022. You can view the original article here.
OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.
A national tournament is being held at the Troy Sports Center, which is not involved in the lawsuit. However, players and parents that are attending the event are being sued.
Among the teams playing in the tournament will be its host, the U-16 2006 Troy Sting. The complaint says one of the teammates posted a picture of themself saluting Adolph Hitler.
The 15-year-old involved in the lawsuit, Caleb Goldstein, said he suffered verbal abuse too.
“One of the kids looked at me, and he goes, ‘why aren’t you in your striped pajamas?’ Which wasn’t great, and then after that, it just kept going,” said Goldstein. “In our team group chat, which wasn’t monitored, one of them said, ‘why can’t you just go to the chamber?’”
The lawsuit said the three boys, their parents and the coach did nothing to deal directly with the abuse. It also said the coach tried to get the players themselves to cover up evidence of the abuse.
“What’s surprising is that a 15-year-old American kid playing hockey has to confront it at the age of 15,” Attorney Steven Cohen said. “What’s second-worst, is that the adults are more concerned about wiping it away and keeping it undercover.”
While Goldstein has dreams of playing college hockey, he is left wondering why.
“Wondering why they decided to do it,” Goldstein said. “It’s just made me angry, and I try not to show it.”
Local 4′s Rod Meloni made phone calls and sent emails to all of the attorneys involved in this case.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association said they had a hearing, disciplined the boys accused of abuse and put them on probation. It said they were also suspended from some games and had them attend sensitivity training.
The association said the boys were not involved in antisemitism. Cohen said the team was able to add extra games to make sure the boys could make up the games they were suspended for.
Other attorneys said there is no case and they want it thrown out.
The judge will hear arguments in this case on April 6.
Below is a statement from the attorneys for Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA):
“This letter serves as a follow-up to our previous telephone discussions. I understand that you represent Caleb Goldstein and his family. Since our last discussion, I verified that the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) website contains information related to the disciplinary action taken by MAHA’s District 3 disciplinary panel regarding four minor participants in the Troy Youth Hockey Association (TYHA) (Minor Names Omitted). You are able to view information on the website relating to those individuals.
MAHA District 3 conducted a hearing on each minor participant and concluded that the minors violated USA Hockey Playing Rule 601(e)(3), which prohibits use of language that is hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game. As part of the discipline, each child was suspended for a certain number of games, placed on probation for multiple years and required to participate in sensitivity training provided by the TYHA. I am not aware that any of the minor participants appealed the decisions of District 3.
I understand your clients may not be satisfied with the results. However, after talking to MAHA’s District 3 Chair and reviewing the relevant information, I am confident that MAHA acted in accordance with its rules in holding a hearing and issuing discipline related to the four minors. MAHA does not condone the type of behavior engaged in by the minor children and it acted in response to the conduct when presented with a complaint.
MAHA did not engage in any discrimination, denies the allegations in the Complaint and will defend itself as permitted under the law and applicable court rules. Thank you.”