The Chicago Blackhawks have reached out to four fans responsible for yelling racist taunts at Washington Capitals foward Devante Smith-Pelly and informed that they are banned from future Blackhawks home games. The incident occurred on Sunday when Smith-Pelly was in the penalty box and fans repeatedly chanted "basketball" at him. Smith-Pelly, who is black, confronted the fans before getting back onto the ice, and the fans were escorted out.
"Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,'' said Blackhawks spokesman Adam Rogowin in a statement on Monday.
The incident occurred in the third period of a 7-1 Blackhawks blowout. It was an off-ice official that notified United Center security of the incident and had the fans kicked out after Smith-Pelly confronted them.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville spoke on the incident during the morning skate on Monday before the Blackhawks faced the Los Angeles Kings, saying, via the Associated Press: "Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society today. We've got to learn from something like that. It can't happen." Quenneville also apologized to Capitals coach Barry Trotz for the incident.
Trotz spoke to the media after the game, saying that: "there's absolutely no place in the game of hockey, or in our country, for racism." Smith-Pelly didn't speak to media after the game.