Devante Smith-Pelly has followed through with his commitment to stomp out racism in hockey.
When he and Capitals teammate John Carlson saw what happened to a local youth hockey player in a recent tournament, they decided to act, for the positive.
After the opposing team's coach – and referees – did nothing, Divyne's teammates did. They dropped their sticks and brawled with their opponents in the third period, resulting in Apollon being suspended for the rest of the tournament. For their next game, teammates put stickers on their sticks depicting the word "racism" crossed out by a hockey stick.
On Tuesday, Smith-Pelly and Carlson surprised the Maple Leafs with a video message, delivering the news that they'd been invited to the Caps' Jan. 14 home game against the Blues. Afterward, Divyne and his teammates will meet the Capitals.
"We heard about it. It was making its rounds on Twitter," Smith-Pelly said. "So the day we saw it – Carly saw it, I saw it obviously – and we kind of had the idea, maybe we should invite Divyne and his teammates to see a game. It's always important to not only invite Divyne to come in, but also to invite the whole team, seeing as they stuck with their teammate."
Smith-Pelly has seen this behavior before. It happened to him nearly a year ago. As he sat in the penalty box during a Feb. 2018 game in Chicago, four fans subjected him to racist taunts, shouting "basketball, basketball" at him. The fans were identified and ejected from the building, and later permanently banned from future Blackhawks games.