Maple Leafs release statement on Habs fan stick incident at Scotiabank Arena

The Toronto Maple Leafs have addressed a viral story about a young Montreal Canadiens fan who was reportedly forced to leave a game at Scotiabank Arena on the weekend.

Hunter Beauparlant, a young Habs fan, made headlines Sunday when a story surfaced on social media about him being forced to leave an NHL game in Toronto. The Maple Leafs and Canadiens renewed their rivalry with a classic matchup at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Hunter was gifted a stick by Montreal forward Nick Suzuki before the game, but an arena employee reportedly asked Hunter to leave the game because the stick is dangerous. Fans attending Maple Leafs games at Scotiabank Arena aren’t allowed to re-enter the arena after exiting.

Hunter’s dad, Steven, published a tweet on Twitter saying he and Hunter had to leave the game because the stick wasn’t allowed. Steven also claimed the staff told him the stick is considered a “weapon”.

After the incident went viral, the Montreal Canadiens posted on social media offering to send Hunter a Suzuki jersey. The organization clearly felt bad about the kid being forced to leave the game.

We now have an explanation from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization that provides the full picture of what transpired. In a statement addressed to TSN, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment claims they first approached Hunter when they spotted him walking on the concourse with the stick with 10 minutes left in the game.

MLSE claims that they offered to assist Hunter to check his stick until the end of the game as it poses a safety risk. Hunter reportedly refused to get the stick checked, so he and his dad chose to leave the arena with around 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Here’s the full statement from Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment

“MLSE and its fan services team works in every case to deliver a world-class experience for each fan, while ensuring the safety and enjoyment of their fellow attendees is protected. In this case, with 10 minutes remaining in the game, a fan was notified by security as he was walking in the concourse with a hockey stick, that due to fan safety protocols, MLSE’s fan services would assist them to check the stick until the end of the game as it poses a safety hazard for other fans. While the fan in this case did not want to check the stick, and instead made their own decision to leave the game, the protocol remains an important one for fan safety and our Fan Services team will continue to work with all attendees at any event in our venues to ensure a first-class experience for all while ensuring adherence to event protocols.”

MSLE’s statement is a great reminder that there’s always two sides to every story. The staff at Scotiabank Arena have been bombarded with hate after Steven’s post about his son gained major traction on social media.

Scotiabank Arena kicking out a young fan was puzzling to begin with, so it’s great to know they gave Hunter the option of checking his stick. It’s understandable NHL arenas don’t want a stick in the crowd considering how often fights break out at sporting events.

It’s unfortunate both NHL organizations had to get involved over what appears to be a simple misunderstanding. The story should really be about Suzuki going out of his way to be a good guy and making the night of a young Habs fan.