Madison Square Garden has delivered its own knockout.
The Rangers fan who was caught on tape leveling a Lightning fan with a cheap shot punch has received a lifetime ban from the arena. MSG also confirmed the fan — James Anastasio of Staten Island, according to reports — punched a second person in the aftermath of the Rangers’ Game 5 loss to the Bolts. Both fans are said to be OK after declining medical attention at the scene, according to reports.
Last night, an abhorrent assault took place against a Tampa Bay fan at the conclusion of the game — followed by a second assault against an individual who bravely intervened.
First, we ensured the victims received appropriate medical care and have followed up to provide support from our guest services team. Equally important, we are cooperating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter.
The assailant will also be banned from The Garden and all other MSG venues for life.
All guests — no matter what team they support — should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and always will be our policy.
The ban presumably also applies to the Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall, based on the wording of the statement. So three buildings you probably would like to be able to enter if you live in the area and like entertainment.
— Scott Kaplan (@ScottKaplanOn) June 10, 2022
Anastasio was arrested before leaving the arena. He was reportedly booked on two charges of assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. There has been no indication any of the incident was provoked (not that it would excuse the brutal punch thrown).
Again, this is the type of stunt that can ruin lives. It’s especially dangerous in a post-game scene at the Garden, which is always mayhem and always feels like it’s on the verge of becoming a stampede situation.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]