Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today forward Kai Uchacz has been traded from the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a second round pick in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft and has been granted permission by the WHL to play during the 2021-22 season.
Uchacz was removed from the roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 25, 2021 following a thorough review by Thunderbirds staff after it was discovered he had directed racist comments and actions towards another player on the team.
Since being removed from the Thunderbirds roster, Uchacz was required to undergo further training and education on anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and successfully completed the WHL Diversity Coaching Program conducted by Kamau Consulting Group and Shades of Humanity Consulting in June 2021. As a result of demonstrating significant progress with his ongoing education and genuine remorse for his prior behaviour, Uchacz’s return to the WHL has been fully endorsed by the diversity consulting agencies which conducted the training and education program.
In addition, once he joins the Rebels, Uchacz will be required to continue his diversity and respect training in Red Deer. All WHL players are required to complete the Respect in Hockey educational program, which includes Respect in Sport certification each season.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and I deeply regret my decision making in the past,” Uchacz said. “I have taken this time away from hockey to learn and grow as a person and have expanded my knowledge about this topic and how impactful it is. I thank the WHL for taking the time to work with me and believe in me as a person. I am thankful for the opportunity to play again.”
The WHL remains fully committed to creating an inclusive environment for all of its players and will be taking significant steps to prevent such incidents moving forward.
With the successful completion of the diversity training and after demonstrating he has made significant progress, Uchacz will be permitted to return to the WHL starting with training camp and pre-season games with the Red Deer Rebels, and for the 2021-22 season.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.