When Capitals stars John Carlson, Devante Smith-Pelly heard about one youth hockey player's story of being harassed with racial taunts and slurs during a game against another youth team from Pennsylvania, they wanted to do something to help.
"It's terrible first off, I think you feel for Divyne and what he has to go through and as a hockey player I think we all stand up for each other," Carlson told the team's website. "I just think it's a good thing to do to show him we're all with him."
Divyne Apollon, a black 13-year-old who plays for the Maryland-based Metro Maple Leafs youth hockey team and his team heard monkey sounds, namecalling and other chants directed at him throughout much of an early-January game, according to reports.
Then, the end of the third period came. From the Washington Post:
At the end of the third period, the fed-up teammates started yelling at the other team and a fight began. Divyne said he got punched in the face, and he fought back.
After the kids were pulled apart, Divyne was suspended from the rest of the tournament and he finally told the adults what the other team had been saying. His teammates backed him up, telling the parents and team manager what happened.
“It happened in Hagerstown earlier in the season, too,” Apollon said. “The n-word. The basketball chants. We had a team chat and he explained the history of how it happened before.”
That was far from the only show of support: According to the Post, one of Apollon's teammates' moms designed and helped spread stickers with the word "Racism" crossed out. Teams across the tournament wore them in support. PK Subban reached out to the team earlier this week.
And on Wednesday, the Capitals' stars personally recorded a video to invite Apollon and his entire team to Capital One Arena for the St. Louis Blues game on Jan. 14.
They plan to meet with the group afterward.
"For me to meet him [Divyne] and look him in the face as someone who's gone through it and can talk to him and share my experience is important to me," Smith-Pelly told the team's website. "It's a pretty gross thing to be happening."
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