This has no place in hockey.
A New York Rangers fan sucker punched a Tampa Bay Lightning fan Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers lost Game 5 to the Lightning at MSG to fall behind 3-2 in their playoff series.
A video taken in the concourse after Game 5 shows a Rangers fan in a red shirt sucker punch an unsuspecting Lightning fan in a blue jersey. The punch knocked out the Lightning fan and left him lying motionless on the ground.
The video was captured as fans were leaving the stadium after the game. The Lightning fan appears to trash talk the Rangers fan, which prompts him to turn around and clock the Tampa Bay fan in the face.
The video was shot by Rangers fan Scott Kaplan as he was leaving the stadium. Check out this disgusting clip below:
— Scott Kaplan (@ScottKaplanOn) June 10, 2022
Eyewitness accounts from the scene say the Tampa Bay Lightning fan lay unconscious on the ground for approximately five minutes before waking up. While some Rangers fans were laughing at the Tampa fan, many stopped to assist the man laying on the ground.
Due to all the commotion, the Rangers fan in the red shirt was able to flee the arena. He reportedly assaulted another fan who tried to intervene on his way out. The New York Police department was later able to apprehend the suspect and arrest him.
Fox13 journalist Evan Axelbank reports a 29-year-old man from Staten Island has been arrested and charged in relation to the crime. Perpetrator James Anastasio has been charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct, and two counts of harassment.
Perp James Anastasio, 29 of Staten Island, was ARRESTED and charged with 2 counts of assault, 2 counts of disorderly conduct, and 2 counts of harassment
The victim refused medical attention at the scene, so hopefully that means he is OK!!! https://t.co/QOyhfE2K8R
— Evan Axelbank Fox13 (@EvanAxelbank) June 10, 2022
Axelbank added in another tweet that the Lightning fan is in stable condition after being taken to hospital. He clarifies it was actually the second victim that refused medical treatment.
Although the Rangers lost the game, this behavior is completely unacceptable. Scott Kaplan captioned the video as a “fight” in his tweet, but it’s actually just a brutal assault. It’s good to know there are criminal charges coming against the assailant.
It’s easy to pile onto Rangers fans after an incident like this, but keep in mind these types of people exist within every NHL fanbase. Many Rangers fans have posted on social media saying this person isn’t a representation of their fanbase.
Wishing the best for the Lightning fan in his recovery.