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New Hamburg hockey player's suspension for defending himself against racial slur unfair, mom says

The mother and coach of a 16-year-old from New Hamburg say they're unhappy with a decision by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) to suspend the hockey player after he defended himself during an on-ice interaction.

During a game on March 7, Patti Jacobs said, a player called her son Jordan the N-word while players were on the ice.

The New Hamburg Junior Firebirds U18 player, who is Black, responded to the slur by calling the other player racist and he swore at him, she said.

Initially, the OMHA suspended both players for seven games for misconduct under the Hockey Canada rule book.

Rule 11.4 says any player or team official "who engages in taunts, insults or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds will be assessed a gross misconduct penalty."

The association has since said Jordan's suspension has been reduced to three games. The other player's suspension remained at seven games.

"We have zero tolerance for discriminatory slurs of any kind," the OMHA said in an email to CBC News on Tuesday.

"We have also been consistent throughout the year in discouraging any form of retaliation from our participants that involves derogatory or disrespectful behaviour or language."

Patti said this is not the first time her son has faced adversity on the ice.

"Through his life, he's always been met with these types of situations and has always been able to rise above them and power through," she said. "But I think that this time was just the straw that broke the camel's back."

Zach Mark, coach of the Junior Firebirds U18 team, said the OMHA was wrong to punish both players.

Jordan "should be able to speak freely and to be able to stand up for himself," Mark said. "To be penalized for standing up for himself and for that to now