The Washington Capitals visited the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this month in a game the Blackhawks won, 7-1. But the headline of the game was a group of four Blackhawks fans that directed a racial taunt at Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who is black.
When Smith-Pelly went to the penalty box, the fans chanted "basketball, basketball, basketball." The fans were ejected from the game and banned from all future Blackhawks home games.
Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune wrote a column asking for the names of the ejected fans, hoping they would apologize. He received several emails in response, including a fan who said he'd donate $10,000 to a charity of Smith-Pelly's choice.
Rosenbloom discovered Smith-Pelly was a supporter of the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, home to the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. The arena, which is the only full-size indoor ice arena in the Washington D.C. area, hosts the Kids on Ice charity program.
Just five days later, on February 23, Rosenbloom reported that fans had raised nearly $20,000. While the official tally hasn't been updated, Rosenbloom is still responding to fans who are donating, suggesting the count has surpassed the $20,000 mark.
Smith-Pelly is also appreciative of the support.
Just wanted to say a huge thanks to @steverosenbloom and all the hockey fans in Chicago who have contributed and supported the Fort DuPont program in DC. I appreciate all the support that I have received from my teammates and so many in the hockey community.
— Devante Smith-Pelly (@smithpelly23) February 23, 2018
Great job of a city stepping up to show that a few bad apples can't ruin the bunch. Fans interested in donating to the cause can do so on the arena's website.