Hockey Fan Says He Was Beaten by Three Men in Homophobic Attack After Game

A Boston Bruins fan says that he was physically assaulted by a group of three men because of his sexual orientation following his team's game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Cadien Shaw was standing outside of a Denver eatery next to the Avalanche's home stadium, Ball Arena, following a January 26 game. That was when a trio of men approached and began to chat him up, Shaw told KMGH-TV.

To begin with, Shaw said, the back-and-forth was limited to some friendly banter about the game itself, which saw the Bruins fall to Colorado 4-3.

"At first, it was more of a hockey banter type of thing from them, 'Oh you lost,' 'What do you think about that hit,' that type of thing," Shaw told KMGH-TV. "I remember saying something along the lines of 'We'll get you next time.'"

However, as the incident escalated, Shaw, who identifies as homosexual, stated that the three men began to steer the conversation away from hockey, and towards Shaw's sexual identity.

"It turned to aggressive homophobic slurs," Shaw said of the discussion.

One of the men reportedly then got in Shaw's space, he said, calling him another slur. Shaw then tried to nudge the man back to try and calm the situation, and that was when the three men reportedly attacked Shaw, forcing him to the ground.

"From there, they tackled me to the ground and were calling me f*g, gay," Shaw recalled. "My head was in my arms, and I was kind of in a ball while they were like, kicking me and punching me."

In terms of the physical damage that he sustained, Shaw told local reporters that "I've got some injuries to my knee, some bruises to my knee and elbow, and then I had a knot in the back of my head."

However, he added that the emotional toll of the incident would make a much greater impact on him.

"It makes me think back to that younger kid whenever I didn't want to come out to fully be myself, and the reasons why you don't do that, and these are why you're scared to," Shaw continued.

"I'm from a very conservative state in the South, that's where I would think that these things would happen, that's why I left there," he continued.

Colorado Avalanche
A Boston Bruins fan has stated that he was attacked by a trio of men in Denver following a game against the Colorado Avalanche. He said the attack was based on his sexual orientation, and that the assailants used a number of anti-gay slurs during the assault. Here, the Colorado Avalanche sweater can be seen during warmups before a 2019 game. Ethan Miller/Getty

The Denver Police Department (DPD) acknowledged that they have opened an investigation with their Bias Motivated Crime Unit. However, the department was unable to provide any additional details.

A representative for Kroenke Sports & Entertainment—the parent company of the Colorado Avalanche—told Newsweek that it was "fully cooperating" with the investigation but could not comment further.

"Kroenke Sports & Entertainment welcomes all fans and guests to our sports and entertainment venues. KSE is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all of our guests in a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans to enjoy world class sporting and entertainment events," the representative added.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has implemented recent initiatives in an attempt to make the game more inclusive towards the LGBTQ community. This includes the "You Can Play" program, a social movement dedicated to eliminating homophobia within sports.

However, The Hockey News noted in a 2021 report that the game "still faces numerous barriers to true acceptance [for LGBTQ people]."

As the investigation into the Denver incident continues, Shaw stated that in spite of everything that had happened, January 26 would not be his last trip to Ball Arena.

"If the Bruins are there, I'll be there," he said.