Saturday, June 25, 2022

Rangers fan charged with assault, banned from Madison Square Garden for punching Lightning fan

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A Rangers fan knocked out a Lighting fan after New York lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The incident was captured on video and the perpetrator, James Anastasio, has been arrested. Anastasio, 29, was charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of harassment.

A clip of the incident spread across social media late Thursday (Warning: the video is graphic).

Anastasio, wearing a No. 10 Artemi Panarin jersey, appeared to have been in a verbal argument with the Lightning fan. He then sucker-punched the victim as they were leaving Madison Square Garden at the conclusion of a 3-1 victory for Tampa Bay.

The fan hit the floor and did not get up in the footage of the incident that was recorded on the cell phone. Multiple people came to his aid and he did eventually regain consciousness without requiring medical attention. A man who saw the incident happen tried to intervene, but Anastasio punched him in the face as well.

MSG released a statement on Friday in which they called the incident an “abhorrent assault” and banned Anastasio for life. 

“First, we ensured the victims received appropriate medical care and have followed up to provide support from our guest services team,” read the statement. “Equally important, we are cooperating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter. The assailant will also be banned form The Garden and all other MSG venues for life.”

“All goes — no matter what team the support — should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and will always be our policy.”

With the victory on Thursday, the Lightning are one win away from winning the series and advancing to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final. They can end the Rangers’ season with a win in Game 6 on Saturday.

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