The Florida Panthers' forward will not be in the lineup Thursday night against the New York Rangers after NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell suspended him for a game for the comments.
Barch was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty and ejected from the game for reportedly using a racial slur in regards to Subban, who is black. Sources told the Miami Herald that following a fight with Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson in which Subban appeared to lose his balance, Barch yelled in Subban's direction that it looked as if Subban slipped on a banana peel.
SOG: 5 | +/-: -4
"I know myself and what I said, it may have been inappropriate, but it was nowhere along the lines of racial slur," Barch said. "The things I said were pretty explicit, maybe not for kids' ears. That's why I really can't repeat what I said, because it wouldn't come across…my grandma wouldn't want to hear it. Put it that way.
"In terms of what my family and friends have dealt with over the past five days and just how my dad brought me up and living in Southern Ontario, I would say one of the most multi-cultural places in North America, if not the world, and just being a part of the League with so many nationalities and players representing so many countries, how diverse a league we really are, I would never want to touch people, especially my peers and the guys I play against, in that way.
"For my sake, my friend's sake, my family's sake, I never said anything that was racially driven. There wasn't a slur. It's nice that it's over with now with everything coming out. At the same time, I feel bad for the team with what the guys have been through with the cloud hanging over it."
Barch said he spoke with Subban the day after the verbal exchange to explain what happened and that Subban was understanding. Barch said he also received support from ex-teammate Trevor Daley and assistant coach Paul Jerrard, both of whom are black and members of the Dallas Stars organization.
Barch said during his phone hearing Thursday morning with Campbell that he was told if the League believed his statement was racially charged, he would have received a 5-to-10-game suspension.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen sat in on the phone call with the League and said now the team must move forward.
"I tell the team that like the other 800 players and coaches and staff that's part of the NHL, how incredibly proud we are to be the most diverse sport in all of professional sports," Dineen said. "We're extremely proud of that. That's an area we want to make sure that we are very aware that comments can be taken in many different ways and it's important that you always conduct yourself in the proper manner."
"It was really an unfortunate type of thing where it came out not the way he intended," Panthers alternate captain Stephen Weiss said. "Once you get to know Barchy, you know he doesn't mean any harm. He's a good team guy. We'll stick by him and that's what you have to do in times like this."
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