All-Time American-Born Wins Leader Gets Dishonored And Has His Banner Removed From The Rafters

Samer Dagher
January 30, 2024  (8:18 PM)

Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League hockey arena named GFL Memorial Gardens
Photo credit: IHeartRadio

The Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League have taken down John Vanbiesbrouck's retired jersey #1 from the GFL Memorial Gardens.

Team Dishonors John Vanbiesbrouck By Removing His Banner Name And Number From The Rafters

The removal reportedly occurred around Joe Thornton's jersey retirement ceremony on November 4th. Hounds owner Tim Lukenda stated that it's part of updating the retired jerseys and aims to create a welcoming environment for everyone.
«As part of the updating of the retired jerseys on display in our arena, we have decided to discontinue the display of this particular jersey in our rafters,» Hounds owner Tim Lukenda told The Sault Star. «We aren't trying to make a big deal of it, we just thought it was the right thing to do at this time.

«Basically, we want to make sure we are creating a welcoming environment for all of our guests, players, former players and families.»

Although Vanbiesbrouck's number will stay retired, it won't be worn by any future Greyhound players.
Vanbiesbrouck, who played 20 NHL seasons, resigned as head coach and GM of the Greyhounds in 2003 following a disgraceful behavior to describe team captain Trevor Daley. He subsequently sold his stake in the team. In response to the removal, the Hockey Diversity Alliance issued a statement on behalf of Daley, expressing relief at not having to relive that painful moment in the arena.
The Hockey Diversity Alliance released a statement on behalf of Daley regarding the news.
«Sault Ste. marie has been home for me since I was drafted by the Greyhounds in 1999. I played my entire junior career in the Soo, met my wife in the Soo, and was proud to finish my major junior career as the captain of the Greyhounds,» Daley said. «Sault Ste. Marie is the place where I started my family and we return «home» to the Soo every summer. Hockey, for the most part, has given me amazing opportunities that I am so grateful for.

«The one very dark and racist moment of my hockey career is somethign that I had to relive each time I returned to the Gardens and looked up to the rafters,» Daly continued. «The next time I enter the Gardens, look up, and not have to relive one of the worst moments of my life eliminates a major source of anger and frustration for both me and my family. It will allow our family to focus on all the very great things that playing for the Greyhounds and in Sault Ste. Marie meant for me as a hockey player and a person.»

Daley, who played 16 NHL seasons, winning Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, emphasized the impact of the racist incident on his career. He currently serves as a special assistant to the Penguins' President of Hockey Ops and GM, also being part of an ownership group that acquired the Soo Thunderbirds in 2021.
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All-Time American-Born Wins Leader Gets Dishonored And Has His Banner Removed From The Rafters

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