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Ex-state hockey official: 'My resignation doesn't make what happened go away'

The longtime regional president of the New York State Amateur Hockey Association, whose investigation into an on-ice incident involving racist taunting against a black player has been questioned by the player's family, has resigned, according to the president of the organization.

David M. Braunstein has resigned as west section president of the state Amateur Hockey Association, association President Joe Baudo said in an email to The Buffalo News on Monday morning.

Braunstein, who held the post for 19 years, did not provide a reason for his resignation, Baudo said in a follow-up message.

Braunstein, who also resigned from his position as a district director for USA Hockey, said in a brief phone interview with The News he did not want to comment publicly until he had spoken with Darren Brown-Hall, the father of the player targeted with the racial taunts.

"He accepted my apology," Braunstein said.

Brown-Hall confirmed to The News that he accepted Braunstein's apology.

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Braunstein last month took over the investigation into an incident in which a black player was called a "monkey" and taunted with monkey sounds and gestures by members of another team during a Jan. 20 game at the Northtown Center. The episode was captured on video that was posted on YouTube (warning: explicit language).

Brown-Hall, the father of the 17-year-old Amherst Youth Hockey player subjected to the racist taunting, has criticized the lack of action by the Western New York Amateur Hockey League and the state Amateur Hockey Association, an affiliate of USA Hockey.

Braunstein, 66, told Brown-Hall in an email Feb. 8 that he took over the investigation, according to emails provided by the family, but as of Saturday the family had not been told of any disciplinary measures.

An assistant coach and two players from the Cheektowaga Warriors 18-and-under team have been suspended, a Cheektowaga councilman said Sunday.

Braunstein said he "explained the circumstances" to Brown-Hall earlier Monday.

"My resignation doesn't make what happened go away," Braunstein told The News, adding, "I really don't want this to be about me or anything about me."

Braunstein, of Kenmore, got involved in hockey when he first started playing as an adult in his early 30s, according to a 1999 profile in Buffalo Business First. He has held positions with a variety of teams and leagues in Western New York, including as an assistant general manager for the Buffalo Junior Sabres.

In a Q&A published on USA Hockey’s website in November, Braunstein was asked why he got involved on the coaching and administrative side of the sport.

"As a coach, I wanted to help kids improve, give them something to do and try to teach them how to be good citizens," he said in the article. "I wanted to be a good role model and hopefully give something back to the game. Now, as an administrator, I want to help give our youth an alternative to electronics and to teach life lessons in a safe environment."

[RELATED: Video shows black teen hockey player attacked with racist taunts]

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