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Five For Fighting: When Fans are Physically Assaulted at Hockey Games

Hockey season will soon be underway and many rivalries will be reignited. Here in the New York metropolitan area, three National Hockey League teams — the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders and The New Jersey Devils — fight it out with each other each year in the hopes of reaching — and winning — the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the fighting during a hockey game is no longer restricted to the ice.

As a result, many hockey fans are becoming embroiled in fights during or after the game; this occurs when fans of opposing teams get into a heated argument, combined with the consumption of alcohol. From there, the verbal assaults become physical. During these altercations, many are brutally attacked and later hospitalized for their injuries.

In 2012, two New York Rangers fans were beaten by a Philadelphia Flyers fan after attending the “Winter Classic” in Philadelphia. The New York Post reported that a group of Flyers fans taunted the pair while waiting on line at a cheesesteak stand when one of those fans, Dennis Veteri, assaulted them; one of the victims, an off-duty New York City police officer, was beaten unconscious. Veteri was arrested and charged with assault.

Last year, during a game at the Barclays Center between the Islanders and the Florida Panthers, a brawl broke out between fans and security guards when, according to the New York Daily News, security personnel began to approach two spectators who were allegedly standing in the handicapped area. It was believed that alcohol played a role in the brawl; since then, Barclays management has implemented a new alcohol policy, which limits two drinks per customer and ends all alcohol sales after the second intermission.

NJ.com recently reported that John Malley, a New Jersey Devils fan, has filed a civil suit against the Prudential Center (where the Devils play), the city of Newark, New Jersey and other parties for serious injuries he received during a fight after a December 23, 2014 game against the Carolina Hurricanes. According to the article, one of Malley’s friends was involved in an altercation with two men after throwing a slice of pizza at them. When Malley tried to break up the fight, the two men picked up and threw him to the ground and proceeded to punch and kick him in the face until he was rendered unconscious. Malley suffered broken bones in his face, blocked nasal passages, a deviated septum and a concussion. In his claim, Malley says the arena, security personnel and the city failed to stop or break up the fight.

If you have been injured as a result of being physically assaulted by someone else, whether at a hockey game or another venue, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a New York personal injury attorney who is experienced in representing clients who have suffered serious injuries related to assault and battery incidents. Sakkas Cahn & Weiss, LLP handles personal injury matters, including assaults, throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Call us today at 212-571-7171.

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