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    January 15, 2019

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SMITH-PELLY INVITES YOUTH TEAM WHO HEARD RACIAL TAUNTS TO CAPS GAME

January 15, 2019

The Washington Capitals had a surprise for a local youth hockey team that stood up after an African-American teammate was subjected to racial taunts.

Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson told the Metro Maple Leafs, based in nearly Odenton, Md., via video that they would be getting tickets to Monday's home game against the St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena.

Divyne Apollon II, 13, was the player who heard the taunts at a tournament in late December. According to The Washington Post, he heard monkey sounds and chants that he should play basketball. When he was suspended for getting into a fight, his teammates wore a sticker decrying racism - featuring the word racism surrounded by a circle with a hockey stick crossing through it - at the next game.

The story caught the attention of Smith-Pelley, who had heard basketball chants last season while he sat in the penalty box during a game at the Chicago Blackhawks.

His video with Carlson was played for the Metro Maple Leafs, earning excited cheers from the team. Sixty tickets are being made available, and team members will get to meet with Capitals players afterward.

"For me to meet him (Apollon) and look him in the face as someone who's gone through it and can talk to him and share my experience is important to me," Smith-Pelly told the Capitals' website. "It's a pretty gross thing to be happening."

COURTESY: Mike Brehm - USA Today