John Craighead picture in the Knight’s dressing room in Langley before the Pacific Junior Hockey League was moved to Surrey. (File photo)

Surrey Knights hockey team owners seek $250,000 for alleged discrimination

Claims have not been proven before BC Human Rights Tribunal and respondents deny the allegations

The Surrey Knights junior hockey team’s owners are seeking $250,000 in compensation for alleged injuries to their “dignity, feelings and self-respect” from the Pacific Junior Hockey League and its president Ray Stonehouse, in separate Human Rights Code complaints.

The complaints, lodged by Amar Gill and John Craighead before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, have not been proven at any hearing.

Gill is of Indian descent and Craighead is black. Gill owns 55 per cent of the franchise and Craighead, 45 per cent of the Surrey Knights hockey team, which is a member of the PJHL, for players ages 16 to 20 in this province.

“Currently, all other active owners and coaches in the league, and all of the members of the PJHL’s executive, are Caucasian,” Tribunal member Catherine McCreary noted in a document issued April 18.

Both complainants allege they were discriminated against by the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) and Stonehouse on the basis of their race, colour and ancestry contrary to the BC Human Rights Code.

READ ALSO: Craighead to return as Surrey Knights coach, team says, after serving two-year suspension

Craighead claims that from the outset of his involvement with the PJHL he experienced racial discrimination from fans and teams which, he alleges, the league made no effort to prevent. He also alleges he and Gill have been treated “more unfavorably” than the other owners.

Other remedies they’re seeking under the Code include a declaration of discrimination, an order that the alleged discrimination be stopped, compensation for lost wages stemming from decisions made against them, and compensation for fines, fees and expenses they incurred defending themselves against the respondents’ alleged discriminatory actions. They are also seeking that the league be ordered to implement “an equality program that promotes the inclusion of all persons in the League, including those who come from minority groups, characterized by racial, religious, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression status.”

Craighead is seeking $100,000 in compensation from the PJHL and $100,000 from Stonehouse, and Gill is seeking $25,000 from the PJHL and $25,000 from Stonehouse.

Stonehouse directed the Now-Leader’s request for comment to his lawyer, George Cadman.

“It shouldn’t surprise you to know that Mr. Stonehouse denies the allegations,” Cadman said. “He denies the allegations but the full response will not be filed for some time.

“The complaint response isn’t due for some time yet,” Cadman added. “When it is filed, it will be a public filing, and that’s a way’s away. The Tribunal will set a time table for that filing.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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