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Senators fan says he was shoved, insulted by Habs fans at Bell Centre

04/21/2015 12:10 EDT | Updated 07/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Another Ottawa Senators fan, Bradley Sproule, has come forward with a story of intimidation and harassment during a Montreal Canadiens playoff game at the Bell Centre, saying he was shoved, insulted and had beer thrown at him at last Wednesday's game while attendants stood by doing nothing.

This comes after two sisters attending last Friday's game, Katie and Annie Kerrick, told CBC they were hit with wound-up towels, cursed at, and called derogatory names including "f***ing whore" at last Friday's game. The Kerricks also said Bell Centre staff did nothing to help them.

Responding to the Kerricks' story, Canadiens spokesperson Donald Beauchamp said it was "very obvious it was an isolated incident."

Fans mock deceased assistant coach

Bradley Sproule doesn't think so.

He told his story to CBC's Daybreak Tuesday morning.

Sproule said he and his friend, both wearing Senators gear, endured some mild ribbing during from Habs fans during the first two periods of last Wednesday's game at the Bell Centre.

He said things got worse during the second intermission, when they went to the concession stand.

"A guy coming from the other direction completely threw his shoulder into me and then started chanting," Sproule said.

The chant referred to Senators forward Mark Stone, who was injured during the game, and Senators assistant coach Mark Reeds, who passed away from cancer last Tuesday.

"He was chanting 'hope Stone dies like Reeds did', and then that one comment turned into a chant of about 20 other people," Sproule said.

'Scary situation'

Sproule said he and his friend made their way back to their seats, where someone threw a beer at him.

"There was an usher standing right there and he didn't do anything about this.  He was like 'what do you want me to do?' He walked over, picked up the cup, threw it in the trash and that was about it," Sproule said.

Sproule said at that point he started to fear for his safety.

He said even leaving the game later he was pushed and shoved by unruly fans in the stairwell, where they repeated the chant that referred to Stone and Reeds.

Habs fan embarrassed

Longtime Habs fan and online commentator Sean Lloyd said the incident is embarrassing.

"In Montreal we've always taken pride in being known as a classy organization and classy fans and hearing this I'd like to apologize to Bradley on behalf of the real Habs fans," Lloyd said.

Lloyd conceded that such incidents at the Bell Centre are not isolated, but he feels they're getting more attention now because of social media.

"It probably happens in every arena during every game, especially during playoffs, but now everybody is on Facebook and Twitter during the entire game taking pictures and taking video," Lloyd said.

Lloyd said Habs fans a have a responsibility to intervene if they see fans from opposing teams being harassed.

Sproule said he thinks the Bell Centre needs to have more security guards with better training.

Increased security during playoffs

No one from the Bell Centre was available to respond to Sproule's story.

Bell Centre spokesman, Donald Beauchamp, said after hearing the Kerrricks' story that security will "learn" from what happened, but no security staff would he held accountable.

"There's no repercussions other than the people are made more aware of the situation, and they're more vigilant," he said.

Beauchamp confirmed there is increased security during the playoffs.

Fan code of conduct

He described what happened to the Kerricks as "unfortunate." 

The Ottawa Senators have a "Fans Code of Conduct" published on their website, and several other teams have posted a Fans Code of Conduct drafted by the NHL on their sites.

The Canadiens do not have a Fans Code of Conduct published on their website.

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