The NHL said Monday that St. Louis police are investigating threats made toward Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri, who has been the subject of racist social media posts since he was involved in a collision that knocked Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington out for the rest of the series .
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email that the league was in touch with St. Louis Police who were employing enhanced security procedures at both the arena and Avalanche hotel.
“We take threats made to any of our players or other club personnel seriously,” Daly said.
The AP verified the existence of Twitter posts sent to the official Avalanche team account and to Kadri’s calling him “Arab scum” and referencing terrorism. Other posts, some of which have since been deleted, included death threats. One was still up hours before Game 4 in St Louis.
It was not clear if the social media posts were the subject of league, team or police investigation or if there were other threats made toward Kadri, who is of Lebanese descent and born in London, Ont.
Sadly, Kadri acknowledged, he’s been dealing with racial slurs for much of his life.
“I’m getting good at just putting it in the rearview mirror,” he said. “It’s a big deal. I try to act like it’s not, and I just keep moving forward.”
A person wearing a dark blue jacket with “St. Louis Police” printed in yellow on the back stood near the Avalanche bench as Kadri and the Avalanche took to the ice before game time on Monday. The game was played amidst a heightened police presence.
Kadri quiets crowd with hat trick
Kadri was booed upon taking his first shift a little over a minute into the game, as well as each time he touched the puck.
With Binnington watching from a team suite, Kadri scored twice — and celebrated his first goal with a salute to the crowd — during a second-period surge in which Colorado scored four times to build a 4-1 lead. He then completed his first career three-goal playoff game by putting the Avalanche up 5-3 midway through the third period — quieting the crowd.
Kadri’s teammates rallied to his defense before the game.
Former NHL player Akim Aliu told The AP by text message he has been in constant communication with Kadri and added, “All we can really do is support him morally.”
“Naz has been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in,” tweeted Aliu, who is Nigerian-Canadian. “Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported on.”
Aliu and Kadri are members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which works toward eradicating systemic racism and intolerance in hockey, and help in making the sport more accessible to minorities and underprivileged youth.
Talked to @43_kadri
About his advertent collision w Binnington. Naz has been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in. Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported on.
The NHL has several layers of security in place, including club personnel and additional services provided by the home team that are in constant communication with the league’s security department. That department activates in situations such as this one and can work with federal and local law enforcement, when necessary.
The league, with input from the NHL Players’ Association established a confidential hotline to which players can report harassment, discrimination or other serious misconduct. It’s operated by a third party, with the ability to make reports by phone, email or online anonymously or with attribution.