Hockey fan left bruised but defiant after vicious homophobic attack: ‘We will never go away’
A diehard hockey fan said he was viciously attacked and called homophobic slurs by a group of thugs after a game in Colorado.
Cadien Shaw told ABC 7 that the violent incident happened after a match between the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche on 26 January in Denver. He recalled standing outside the Ball Area when a trio of men approached him and began talking with him.
Shaw, who is openly gay, said it was initially just an exchange of friendly “hockey banter” after his beloved team, the Bruins, lost to the Avalanche. He said the men teased him about the game while Shaw jokingly said something along the lines of: “We’ll get you next time”.
But the interaction soon escalated, and Shaw said the three men quickly focused on his sexual orientation. He described how one of the men aggressively positioned himself in front of Shaw and called him a homophobic slur.
Shaw said he tried to nudge the man to create a space between them when the trio physically attacked him.
“From there, they tackled me to the ground and were calling me [homophobic slur], gay,” Shaw said. “My head was in my arms, and I was kind of in a ball while they were kicking me.”
Shaw said he suffered some injuries to his knee, bruises and had a knot on his head as a result of the attack. But he said the attack had taken a huge emotional toll 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 said.
The hockey fan told Outsports that he initially didn’t want to tell anybody about the Colorado attack as he was “kind of embarrassed”.
“You get beat up a little bit,” Shaw said. “And I’m also ashamed it happened in something I consider a safe space: sports.”
He continued: “I have so much love and passion for it, and it’s a shame those things happen at those places.”
But Shaw eventually decided to post about the attack on his Instagram, where it quickly spread across the hockey community.
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In the post, Shaw said he was coming forward about the homophobic attack to hopefully keep such hateful incidents from “happening to someone else” in the future.
“LGBTQ+ people will never go away,” he wrote. “We will be integrated members and contributors to every single bit of society forever. Spread love not hate.”
Shaw told Outsports that he has received tremendous support on social media, and even Luke Prokop – the first active player under NHL contract to come out as gay – had reached out to the fan.
The Denver Police Department told ABC 7 that their Bias Motivated Crime Unit was investigating the attack.