The Bruins’ victory over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night was marred by an ugly play against Boston forward Nathan Horton — and some ugly behavior toward Vancouver fans. The league has rightly suspended Aaron Rome for four games, ending his season. Both the Garden and loyal Bruins fans now have a responsibility to make sure that visiting fans aren’t harassed, however misplaced their loyalties might seem.
It’s one thing to rib opposing fans, but at least a few Bruins fans crossed the line. According to numerous accounts from Canucks fans, visitors were harangued, squirted with mustard, or even spit at — especially after the hit on Horton added to the tension in the stands. Nothing that happens on the ice warrants such a hostile response among fans.
It’s especially troubling to hear reports by spectators of heckling with racial overtones. Nancy Grewal of Toronto, who is Indian-Canadian, told the Globe she was repeatedly called a “terrorist’’ by a neighboring fan. She says she alerted ushers to the harassment, but the fan was not removed, forcing her to leave seats for which she paid $1,800.
Acts like these demand a vigilant response from the Garden. Tonight, the venue needs to beef up security and, if necessary, cut off alcohol sales if tensions flare. Vancouver fans should be aware of a number — (617) 624-2326 — where they can report problems at the Garden. Local fans, meanwhile, need to keep it civil; they must not tolerate behavior toward visitors that they wouldn’t abide if they were on the receiving end.