Fan captured coward-punching rival in sickening attack: 'Abhorrent'

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Pictured here, an ice hockey fan's sickening attack on a rival supporter at Madison Square Garden.
An ice hockey fan has been banned from Madison Square Garden for life after the disgusting attack on a rival supporter. Pic: Twitter

An ice hockey fan in the United States has been handed a life ban after being captured on camera assaulting a rival supporter in a sickening incident that shocked onlookers.

The disturbing scenes happened at Madison Square Garden (MSG) after the New York Rangers’ 3-1 home defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of their NHL playoffs series.

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Rangers fans exited MSG in frustration after the loss, with one of them snapping as an argument with rival supporters turned violent.

As a Lightning fan celebrated his team’s victory behind him, the man turned around and viciously attacked the rival supporter without notice.

Warning: Graphic content

The culprit - later identified as a 29-year-old man from Staten Island - turned around and coward-punched the rival fan on the side of the head as they were leaving the stadium.

The victim collapsed and hit his head on the ground. He was tended to by more amicable other fans, who say he regained consciousness five minutes after the attack.

According to reports, the New York Police Department said the victim was taken to hospital and is in stable condition.

Witnesses told the New York Police Department that the assault took place after both fans started arguing and the altercation escalated.

Seen here, Tampa Bay Lightning players celebrate victory over the New York Rangers in  Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The ugly incident came after Tampa Bay Lightning's victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Pic: Getty

The offender was arrested and charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of harassment.

He also reportedly assaulted a witness who attempted to stop him. According to police, the witness “sustained pain and bruises on his face” but did not undergo medical treatment.

Offender banned from venue for life

In a statement released on Friday, MSG condemned the assault and said they have banned the man for life.

“Last night, an abhorrent assault took place against a Tampa Bay fan at the conclusion of the game — followed by a second assault against an individual who bravely intervened,” MSG said in the statement.

“We are co-operating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter. The assailant will also be banned from The Garden and all other MSG venues for life.”

He will be unable to attend all of the venues owned by 'The Garden', which includes Hulu Theater at MSG, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre.

Game 6 takes place in Tampa Bay, with the Lightning now just one victory away from a meeting with the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final and a shot at a third consecutive title.

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