St. FX claims comment related to sexual assault survivor instigated hockey brawl

A university hockey brawl that has prompted an investigation and will likely lead to a number of suspensions was instigated by a derogatory comment related to a sexual assault survivor, St. Francis Xavier University alleged Monday in a statement.

The incident occurred in the third period of a game between St. FX and Acadia last Saturday in Wolfville, N.S., leading to the ejection of five Axemen players, eight X-Men and both head coaches. Atlantic University Sport, which oversees university sport in the region, is investigating.

In a late afternoon statement to provide ``context and clarity to the incident,'' St. FX said that centre Sam Studnicka was the target of the alleged comment.

``Over the course of my three-year AUS career, I have been challenged in dealing with insulting and derogatory comments on the ice pertaining to the shaming of a sexual assault survivor,'' Studnicka said in the statement. ``It has taken an emotional toll on me, and it has been frustrating that one AUS hockey program in particular has elicited repeated on-ice comments directed towards me.''

Messages left with Acadia's head coach and the university's executive director of athletics and community events were not immediately returned.

``Another comment was made during the third period of Saturday night's game, which was addressed by my head coach to the on-ice officials and to the opposing team's head coach,'' Studnicka said. ``I was completely shocked when, minutes later, I was on the ice and the offending athlete (who made the comment) was sent to take the faceoff against me. There is no place for such comments within our society. Sexual assault is a very serious issue and there is simply no place for shaming sexual assault survivors, ever."