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

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

An excerpt from the incident broadcast on social networks late Thursday (Warning: the video is graphic).

Anastasio, wearing a No.10 Artemi Panarin jersey, appears to have had a verbal argument with the Lightning fan. He then punched the victim as she left Madison Square Garden following a 3-1 victory for Tampa Bay.

The fan hit the ground and did not rise in footage of the incident which was recorded on the cellphone. Several people came to his aid and he eventually regained consciousness without requiring medical attention. A man who saw the incident happen tried to intervene, but Anastasio also punched him in the face.

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

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

“All guests – no matter which team they support – should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has been and always will be our policy.”

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


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