WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - When 13-year-old Divyne Apollon II stepped on to the ice for a youth hockey tournament last month, his father says he faced racist taunts from the opposing team. Monday, he was ice side for the Washington Capitals game where he later met the professional players who are supporting Apollon and his teammates after the incident.
Apollon plays for the Odenton, Maryland-based Metro Maple Leafs. According to the Washington Post, an opposing team from Pennsylvania lobbed monkey noises, the N-word and told Apollon, who is black, to play basketball instead of hockey during a recent tournament.
A fight broke out after the game when Apollon's teammates stood up for him.
Capitals players Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson heard about the incident and invited Apollon and the team to Monday night's game against the St. Louis Blues. They will meet the players in the locker room after the game.
Smith-Pelly and Carlson were asked about the racism the young player experienced at practice Monday morning.
"It brings you back to when stuff happened with me when I was younger or now guys on my team always have my back as well. I thought it was good to recognize the team as well for standing up for their teammate," said Smith-Pelly.
"Hopefully this great story about the team standing up for each other and how Divyne stood up for himself it’s a good step forward," said Carlson.
Players and parents from the Maple Leafs are using Apollon's experience to encourage an end to racism in hockey. They have started a campaign called "Hockey over Racism."