DENVER — A diehard Boston Bruins fan thought he was engaging in some friendly postgame banter with some Avalanche fans following a game at Ball Arena on Jan. 26. But according to Cadien Shaw, that would be far from the case.
Shaw was outside of Brooklyn's at Ball Arena after the game when he says three men approached him.
"At first, it was more of a hockey banter type of thing from them, 'Oh you lost.' That type of thing," Shaw said. "I remember saying something along the lines of, 'We'll get you next time.'"
Shaw says the exchange escalated and was no longer about hockey, but rather focused on his sexual orientation.
"It turned to aggressive homophobic slurs," Shaw recalled.
According to Shaw, the three men approached him, and one of them positioned himself face-to-face with Shaw, calling him a homophobic slur. Shaw says he nudged the man out of fear to create space between them.
"From there, they tackled me to the ground and were calling me [homophobic slur], gay," Shaw said. "My head was in my arms, and I was kind of in a ball while they were kicking me."
The Denver Police Department confirmed their Bias Motivated Crime Unit is investigating the matter.
"I've got some injuries to my knee, some bruises to my knee and elbow, and then I had a knot in the back of my head," Shaw said.
Yet, Shaw says the emotional impact is much harder to endure.
"It makes me think back to that younger kid whenever I didn't want to come out to fully be myself, and the reasons why you don't do that, and these are why you're scared to," he said.
Despite the attack, Shaw says it won't be his last time at Ball Arena.
"If the Bruins are there, I'll be there," he said.