TAMPA, Fla. — As Tampa Bay Lightning fans celebrated Thursday night's Game 5 victory, one New York Rangers fan hit a Lightning fan with a punch that appeared to knock out the Lightning fan.
According to New York Police, the man punched the 26-year-old Lightning fan in the face, "causing him to fall to the floor and lose consciousness." NYPD said the man who threw the punch, later identified as James Anastasio, 29, then tried to run out of the arena.
You can see the punch here in a video shot and provided by Scott Kaplan.
Fight at MSG #NYR #NoQuitInNY #Fights #TampaBay pic.twitter.com/xxL9oD1if1— Scott Kaplan (@ScottKaplanOn) June 10, 2022
Police said a good Samaritan tried to stop Anastasio from leaving the arena and that's when he punched the good Samaritan as well. The NYPD was able to find Anastasio and arrest him before he got out of the arena Thursday night.
Neither the Lightning fan nor the good Samaritan had to be hospitalized after being punched.
Anastasio faces charges including two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct, and two counts of harassment.
On Friday afternoon, Madison Square Garden issued the following statement via Twitter.
June 10, 2022
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.
First, we ensured the victims received appropriate medical care and have followed up to provide support from our guest services team. Equally important, we are cooperating 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.
All guest— no matter what team they support— should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and always will be our policy.
This article was written by Tim Kephart for WFTS.