This may very well be a low point for hockey fans in 2018.
There has been a ton of fallout from the incident that occurred between Vancouver Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson and Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson but this may be the apex of it all and it's disgusting to put it mildly.
Matheson delivered a clean looking hit to the Canucks rookie a week ago today but he also followed that hit with what many perceived to be an unnecessary slam on Petterson. The slam drove the young Canucks star in the making to the ice hard and resulted in him suffering a concussion and the outrage following the incident was immediate. In spite of not being known as an even remotely dirty player Matheson was widely derided for the cheap shot and the National Hockey League eventually came down on him hard with it's Department of Player Safety slapping him with a 2 game suspension for the infraction.
That was just the beginning of Matheson's problems however as he revealed earlier this week that he has now been the target of death threats as a result of the incident, something that no one should ever condone no matter how much you hate a player on the ice. Matheson spoke to a long time Panthers beat writer this week and made some rather disturbing revelations.
“I’m trying to stay off it, but it has been very, very disappointing,” Matheson saidas per George Richards of The Athletic. “To think that people could be so inhumane about something … sports were made to bring people together, to cheer on teams and have passion about their teams. I fully understand and respect that.
“But there are thousands of people commenting things on my social-media pages — sending me death threats, wishing I would commit suicide or get cancer — that’s bringing things to a whole new level. People have even threatened my dog. If you’re going that far, you might want to look yourself in the mirror. I’m not going to engage in it. It’s definitely not worth it. I know not all Vancouver fans are like that. I’m sure it’s a very small percentage of hockey fans who are doing this.”
Again to be clear we absolutely do not condone this type of behavior and as Matheson stated if you are one of the people sending these types of messages a long, hard, look in the mirror is in order. That being said the story doesn't end there and in fact, believe it or not, it gets even more insane and unhinged.
Sportsnet's Irfaan Gaffar is now reporting that he has personally spoken to a number of players in the Vancouver Canucks locker room regarding the incident and has now revealed that some of those players have received death threats from their very own fans over this incident. Gaffar did not name and players specifically and did not provide any evidence of his claims but did state that he has personally seen the messages after being shown the evidence from the players involved.
Can you even imagine threatening to kill someone that plays for a team that you're supposed to be a fan of? Hopefully this information has already been turned over to the authorities and the appropriate measures will be taken.