Ice hockey player sues league after being subjected to ‘homophobic comments, vilification and violence’

Ice hockey

The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) is being sued by a former player who claims he was subjected to “homophobic comments, vilification and violence” throughout the 2019 season.

Former CBR Brave winger Jesse Gabrielle says he experienced repeated incidents of homophobia from rival players and coaches while he was on the team.

When he reported this to an AHIL board member, the league refused to register him for the 2020 season despite his agreeing to terms with the Melbourne Ice. The season ended up being cancelled anyway due to coronavirus.

Gabrielle has now launched legal action against the AHIL, accusing them of taking adverse action on the basis of his sexuality, thereby breaching s340 and s351 of the Fair Work Act.


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All smiles for the season to start?

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CBR Brave CEO Dan Amodio told The Riot Act that the team are not named in the lawsuit, which is aimed solely at the national league.

“What I can say is that the Brave are an inclusive organisation on and off the ice, we take that responsibility very seriously and we won’t accept hate in any form related to race, religion or sexual orientation in any part of our organisation,” he said.

He added that CBR Brave general manager Sunny Singh was also a member of the LGBT+ community and had experienced firsthand how tough it can be to navigate life on the sporting scene.

“We will continue to actively promote diversity in the AIHL and welcome people from all sorts of backgrounds into our Brave community,” Singh said.

According to Workplace Express, Gabrielle is seeking reinstatement, penalties and an injunction ordering the AIHL to register him as a player for next season. A hearing is scheduled in Melbourne for September 15.