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ECHL’s Indy Fuel Apologizes To Liam Folkes For Employee’s Alleged Racially Insensitive Comment

The Indy Fuel, the East Coast Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, released a statement on Friday apologizing for an employee’s racially-insensitive comment that was made in the presence of former Penn State men’s hockey star Liam Folkes.

The staff member in question was allegedly overheard making a comment regarding the Confederate flag while in the presence of Folkes, who is Black and no longer with the club. The team said the situation “made him uncomfortable and was perceived as insensitive.”

“The Indy Fuel’s ownership and leaders want to apologize to Liam for the distress and upheaval this incident caused him, and we will continue to cheer for him as his career progresses,” the team said in a statement.

It’s not immediately clear what the Fuel employee in question allegedly said or if they’re still employed by the organization. The Fuel did say, however, that its employees will complete NHL-recommended diversity and inclusion training.

Folkes then released a statement of his own and thanked the Chicago Blackhawks, Indy Fuel, and the ECHL for their response to the event, hoping to raise awareness that offensive comments should not be tolerated.

via @liamfolkes26 on Twittter

“My hope is that making this incident public will help continue to raise awareness that these types of remarks are insensitive and unacceptable,” Folkes said. “From the beginning of this, I wanted to turn this negative incident into a positive educational moment to move the message forward.”

Penn State men’s hockey released a statement from head coach Guy Gadowsky, who praised the former alternate captain’s character and “thoughtful” comments.

via @PennStateMHKY on Twitter

“Liam Folkes is one of the finest players and leaders to come through Penn State Hockey during my tenure as head coach,” Gadowsky said. “His thoughtful comments are not a surprise and are consistent with who he is and what he did every day during his time in Hockey Valley.”

Folkes, a Scarborough, Ontario native, played in 25 games for the Fuel this season, scoring five goals and six assists, before being traded to the ECHL’s Maine Mariners, an affiliate of the Boston Bruins. He has played in six games with his new team and tallied three assists.

During his time at Hockey Valley, Folkes was one of Penn State’s most crucial players. His eight Big Ten Tournament goals, including the golden goal that clinched the Nittany Lions’ 2017 Big Ten championship, are a conference record. He finished his collegiate career with 48 goals and 55 assists in 137 games played and earned the Penn State Hockey Culture Award during his senior season.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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