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State hockey organization to hold hearing on Northtown Center incident

The New York State Amateur Hockey Association announced Tuesday it will hold a hearing in the next seven to 10 days about the Jan. 20 game in which a black player from an Amherst team was subjected to racist taunting by members of a team from Cheektowaga.

The association "will address immediate discipline issues" and conduct a hearing, which will be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the association and USA Hockey, state association President Joe Baudo said in a written statement.

Baudo also said that the Western New York Amateur Hockey League has within its discretion the ability to reschedule canceled playoff games. Last Friday, the league announced it was canceling the league's entire playoffs because the Jan. 20 incident at the Northtown Center remained the subject of an investigation.

David M. Braunstein, the state association's regional president, said Monday he resigned from his positions with the state organization and USA Hockey.

During the January game, players on the Cheektowaga Warriors 18-and-under team in the Multiple Organization House League called a black 17-year-old Amherst Youth Hockey Association player a "monkey" and taunted him with monkey sounds and gestures.

Suspensions of two Cheektowaga players and an assistant coach were announced over the weekend after a YouTube video of the incident came to light last Friday and gained national attention. The discipline was issued by the team's coach, who was not present at the Jan. 20 game, and Jillian Gorman-King, executive director of Town of Cheektowaga Youth & Recreational Services, said Cheektowaga Councilman Brian Pilarski.

The state hockey association said Braunstein has been temporarily replaced until an election is held at a spring meeting.

"It should be noted that David Braunstein has served NYSAHA for over 20 years, the last 19 of which he was West Section president," Baudo said in a statement. "He has served as a volunteer throughout, generously and with distinction, all the time juggling work and family commitments. His resignation leaves a hole in our hockey community while at the same time losing a close and valued family member."

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

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