Neal Auricchio, the New York Rangers fan who was assaulted and hospitalized after the Winter Classic in Philadelphia, is still recovering from his injuries. He will need surgery to repair the broken bone under his left eye and he continues to deal with the effects of a concussion.
The Iraq War veteran and police officer from northern New Jersey spoke to NBC New York about the assault and his ongoing recovery this week, mentioning his general anger toward the whole situation.
Auricchio also talked about what led to the altercation and he mentioned that some drunk Flyers fans came up them provoking the situation by taking his friend's hat to spit in it and throwing cigarette butts at them.
The news report also mentions that the man Philadelphia police arrested in connection with the assault, Dennis Veteri, was released on $400,000 bond, a price that was set so high because of his 11 previous arrests (with seven convictions) for offenses involving either assault or drugs.
Auricchio was recently given tickets to a game last this season from the Rangers at Madison Square Garden after coach John Tortorella called Auricchio himself.
This whole story has been a sad and uplifting all at the same time for me. There is nothing positive to pull from the incident itself. But the way fans have galvanized to try and bring the perpetrators to justice, in particular Philadelphia fans who had no hesitation in condemning the assault, has been great to see. In a world where fan-on-fan violence is becoming more and more common, that's refreshing.
Previously at Eye on Hockey