BC-HKN-Capitals-Blackhhawks, 517 Blackhawks rout Caps 7-1 to end 8-game losing streakAP Photo CXA111, CXA107, CXA108, CXA106, CXA105, CXA104Eds: APNewsNow. The chant implied that Smith-Pelly, as a black man, was not suited to play the sport of hockey, and he instead should play basketball.
Security promptly kicked the fans out of the arena. In that release, the team apologized to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals organization for "harmful comments" made by the fans. You'd think that there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess. There's no place for it.
"Athletes in our country don't deserve that. It just shows ignorance", Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said after the game, according toESPN.
The Capitals released a statement saying they are "extremely disappointed by the intolerant behaviour" by a select group of fans in Chicago.
The Capitals and the National Hockey League released statements Sunday condemning the behavior of those who were chanting at Smith-Pelly.
"We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone who attends our games and these actions will never be tolerated", the statement read, in part.
All four of the fans were removed from the arena. It's just a few ignorant people being idiots.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that Smith-Pelly has been subjected to such treatment from fans. He has 40 goals and 53 assists in 320 regular-season games with in seven seasons with Anaheim, Montreal, New Jersey and the Capitals. Nick Schmaltz, Artem Anisimov and rookie Alex DeBrincat also scored to help the Blackhawks snap a seven-game slide at home before season-high crowd of 22,066 at the United Center.
The NHL has had to previously deal with racial insults.
In 2011, a fan was fined $200 after pleading guilty to engaging in a prohibited activity for throwing a banana on the ice at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who is black, during an exhibition game at London, Ontario. After hearing the comments, the player walked over to the glass partition while holding his hockey stick and verbally confronted the fans.