The NHL said Monday that St. Louis police are investigating threats made toward Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri, who has been the subject of racist social media posts since he was involved in a collision that knocked Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington out for the rest of the series.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email that the league and police looking into the situation.
“We take threats made to any of our players or other club personnel seriously,” Daly said. “We are in touch with St. Louis Police Department and they are employing enhanced security procedures both at the arena and in the hotel.”
The team said Sunday night it was aware of threats against Kadri and was working with local law enforcement to investigate. Kadri collided with Binnington during Game 3 of their second-round playoff series Saturday night; Kadri said a Blues player threw a water bottle at him during a postgame interview.
The AP verified the existence of Twitter posts sent to the official Avalanche team account and to Kadri’s calling him “Arab scum” and referencing terrorism. Other posts, some of which have since been deleted, included death threats. One was still up hours before Game 4 in St. Louis, with Colorado leading the best-of-seven series 2-1.
It was not clear if the social media posts were the subject of league, team or police investigation or if there were other threats made toward Kadri, who is of Lebanese descent.
After Colorado’s morning skate in St. Louis, coach Jared Bednar called the threats “unnecessary.” Captain Gabriel Landeskog added that they were sad and a function of being in the public eye.
“Unfortunately people think they have the freedom to say and do whatever they want,” Landeskog said. “But we always have security and this is no different.”
Blues winger David Perron called it unfortunate.
“We don’t want that to happen, obviously,” Perron said. “Hopefully it’s been taken care of. I’ll just leave it at that. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody for any reason.”
Former NHL player Akim Aliu told The AP by text message he has been in constant communication with Kadri and added, “All we can really do is support him morally.”
“Naz has been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in,” tweeted Aliu, who is Nigerian-Canadian. “Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported on.”
Aliu and Kadri are members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which works toward eradicating systemic racism and intolerance in hockey, and help in making the sport more accessible to minorities and underprivileged youth.
The NHL has several layers of security in place, including club personnel and additional services provided by the home team that are in constant communication with the league’s security department. That department activates in situations such as this one and can work with federal and local law enforcement, when necessary.
The league, with input from the NHL Players’ Association established a confidential hotline to which players can report harassment, discrimination or other serious misconduct. It’s operated by a third party, with the ability to make reports by phone, email or online anonymously or with attribution.