A good hockey rivalry is always fun. Fans eat it up and enjoy how both clubs battle on the ice to see which one will come out on top. However, when things get way more intense off the ice than on, there is a major problem...
On Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs offered fans a great offensive game, with tons of goals on either sides for the crowd to cheer on, or against. Superstars John Tavares and Auston Matthews each had two goals, and the high-scoring Maple Leafs beat the Stars 7-4. Tyler Seguin had a goal and three assists for Dallas, and his teammate Alexander Radulov finished with a goal and two assists.
You can see the game recap in the video above.
An exciting game all around for everyone involved... Maybe except this one fan, who complained loudly on social media about the experience she lived at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas.
On Wednesday, Olivia Lin called out the Stars on her Twitter account, asking them if it was normal for the team to accept that rival fans be harassed and threatened by local members of the audience during a game, after posting a long text where she accused the Stars of such treatment.
"Why do your fans believe it is okay to threaten and harass fans of other teams? Why do your other fans do nothing to stop it? And what will you do to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and to make sure EVERYONE that comes to your games feels safe?"
She explains in her story that men next to her and her friend, who were cheering their favourite player Matthews, were talking about hitting them and killing them for cheering on the Leafs, loudly so many people could hear. The man used slurs and taunts and raised a hand at the woman to hit her after she asked him what his problem was. The man was reportedly drunk and older than the two women, and Lin wanted to make sure such a horrible experience did not happen to someone else by calling out the Stars on social media.
The Stars respectfully replied to Lin and offered to discuss the situation with her in private. They remind fans on their social media that this type of behaviour is not accepted by the Stars or the American Airlines Centre.
"Hi Olivia, we’re sorry to hear about your experience, it is not something we tolerate at our games. We are committed to creating a safe environment for all home and away fans. We want to address this directly with you – can you DM us?"
They also added that fans can contact security discreetly from their seats if a problem occurs during the game.
"The American Airlines Centre provides guests with an in-game texting service, allowing guests to text issues to building management anonymously and discretely without having to leave their seat. Guests may text the keyword “AACENTER”, then a [space], then the issue and building location to 69050."
Let's hope this never happens again, not only in Dallas, but anywhere in the National Hockey League. Come on, we can all be friends who love hockey despite cheering for opposite teams : that's the beauty of the sport.