Earlier this week, a group of Chicago Blackhawks fans chanted "basketball" at Washington Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly. The 25-year-old is black, and the implication of the chant was clear: the fans insinuated that Smith-Pelly didn't belong on the ice. They were booted from the game.
He eventually confronted them.
Next, he clearly has had enough of whatever is being said, gets up to address the fans. pic.twitter.com/VLu4qHSSMy— Evan Sporer (@ev_sporer) February 18, 2018
In the wake of the incident, the Blackhawks banned the four fans from home games. Now, other Chicago fans are uniting to turn an ugly situation into something positive.
Blackhawks fans have raised over $20,000 for a charity of Smith-Pelly's choice.
The movement originated with an article from Chicago Tribune writer Steve Rosenbloom, who published a reader's email with the idea.
"It came from John Simpson, who suggested instead that Hawks fans donate to Smith-Pelly’s charity of choice or, failing that, to the Capitals’ team charity, and either way, he would deliver the first $10,000," Rosenbloom wrote.
Smith-Pelly selected the Fort Dupont Ice Arena to be the recipient of the money. It's the only full-size indoor rink in D.C., and it's home to a prevalent minority youth hockey program.
Needless to say, the arena was psyched.
"This is truly amazing and it is so wonderful to be reminded that the world is filled with so many more good people than it has bad," wrote Ty Newberry, executive director and general manager of the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, in an email to the Tribune. "We are forever grateful for Devante's choice to benefit our efforts, and for your choice to help bring good from a bad situation."
Just wanted to say a huge thanks to @steverosenbloom and all the hockey fans in Chicago who have contributed and supported the Fort DuPont program in DC. I appreciate all the support that I have received from my teammates and so many in the hockey community.— Devante Smith-Pelly (@smithpelly23) February 23, 2018