David Simms shouted “disgusting” after two men kissed on “kiss cam” during the game and called for them to be escorted out of the stadium, sparking outrage among fans who took to social media to complain.
@PrideSheffield have you heard about homophobic comments at tonight's Sheffield Steelers game by announcer? Worth making noise about.
— Lady Miss Shar (@shamazipan) March 5, 2017
Homophobia runs like wild fire over in the UK hockey scene. This Simms/Steelers thing is disgusting.
— Shelby (@vanekatthedisc0) March 7, 2017
Simms has since apologised on Twitter, insisting it was a joke.
Steelers Managing Director Tony Smith said: “David’s actions on Saturday night were foolish and thoughtless – I have spoken to him at length and he is very sorry for all the hurt and upset he has caused to the LGBT community.
“I must stress David’s actions do not reflect the attitude or policy of the Sheffield Steelers towards the LGBT community – we are a family and welcome each and everyone to the Steelers games without exception and hope this regrettable incident brings the Steelers and the LGBT community closer together in the future.”
Smith also said that he had been in contact with LGBT charity, Stonewall, to discuss how the Steelers could raise awareness for and contribute to the LGBT cause.
This comes after Manchester United announced their partnership with the organisation to help tackle LGBT issues in sport.
Old Trafford will host the organisation’s Rainbow Laces Summit in May, which will bring together leaders from across sport to ensure the inclusion of the LGBT community within the industry.
Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, said: “Manchester United’s support means we can reach millions of football fans both here and around the world, to encourage them to do their part in making all people feel welcome in sport.
“It’s crucial for organisations like Manchester United to show they not only welcome LGBT people, but are active in leading the change. At the moment, many LGBT people want to take part in sport, either as players or fans, but the behaviour of a minority can make them feel unsafe, unwelcome or unable to be themselves.
“There’s so much work left to do to ensure that all LGBT people feel able to participate in sport, and we hope to see other clubs take Manchester United’s lead and join the Rainbow Laces campaign to make this a reality.”