A minor hockey team that stood up for one of its players after he was the subject of racist taunts got a surprise from the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
Divyne Apollon II, a 13-year-old blue-liner on the 14-and-under club based in Odenton, Md., was subjected to taunts from an opposing team at a tournament in December, according to NHL.com's Tom Gulitti.
His teammates fought the opponents at the end of the game in response to the taunts. After Apollon was suspended for the rest of the tournament for his part in the melee, the team placed logos on their sticks with the word "Racism" crossed out by a hockey stick.
Smith-Pelly, who is black, wanted to do something to show his support after reading about the incident.
"It's crazy that's still going on in 2019, but I really like how he stood up for himself and how the team had his back too," Smith-Pelly told Gulitti. "For 13-year-old kids to put a foot in the sand and stand up for their teammate at 13 years old, that's pretty remarkable.
"So I liked reading that part of him standing up for himself and his whole team, a team of kids, standing up for him, too."
A group of Chicago Blackhawks fans targeted Smith-Pelly with racist taunts during a game at the United Center last February.