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):