NHL investigating potential homophobic slur at Maple Leafs-Lightning game

The NHL is launching an official investigation after television cameras appeared to capture the use of a homophobic slur during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

With 1:51 left to play in he second period, the puck was dumped into the Maple Leafs’ zone with Toronto’s Morgan Rielly and Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde giving chase. Rielly, who may have been angered over a potential penalty that wasn’t called, appeared to direct the slur toward the referee as he skated into the Maple Leafs’ zone.

(Warning: Offensive language in the tweet below)

The NHL released a statement regarding the matter shortly after the game, which read: “the NHL is aware of reports that a homophobic slur was used during the Maple Leafs-Lightning game. The League is investigating the incident and will have no further comment until this investigation is completed.”

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas also issued a statement two hours after Monday night’s game.

“The Club is aware of the reports surrounding a homophobic slur used during the Maple Leafs versus Lightning game on Monday night,” said Dubas. “The issue of homophobia is one the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club strongly condemns and takes very seriously. We are in communication with the NHL and are co-operating fully with their office.”

The scene is reminiscent of another Toronto sports star who made a similar comment in 2017. The Blue Jays suspended outfielder Kevin Pillar for two games after he directed a homophobic slur at the opposing pitcher following a strike out at the plate.

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