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 ended the season of Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email that the league and police looking into the situation.
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.
“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.”
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 helps to make 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.
By STEPHEN WHYNO and JOHN WAWROW, AP Hockey Writers