The NHL suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for one game for using a gay slur and fined him $5,000 for directing an inappropriate gesture at the game officials during a playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Shaw reacted after being called for a penalty at 17:57 of the third period. He will sit out Game 5 of the series on Thursday night in St. Louis.
"While Mr. Shaw was apologetic and remorseful for both the offensive comments and the inappropriate gesture directed at the on-ice officials, he must be held accountable for his actions," NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said Wednesday. "The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an NHL player."
Shaw and the Blackhawks released statements.
"I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box," Shaw said. "When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances. I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake."
Shaw was livid, pounding on the glass with his stick, after being sent to the penalty box for interference with 2:04 left in the third period and the Blackhawks trailing 4-3 and needing a win to even the series at 2-2.
"We are extremely disappointed in Andrew Shaw's actions last night," the Blackhawks said in the statement. "His comments do not reflect what we stand for as an organization. We are proud to have an inclusive and respectful environment, and to support various initiatives such as the You Can Play Project and the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. We will use this opportunity to further educate our players and organization moving forward, so that we all may learn from it."
In Game 4, Shaw protested and appeared to hold up both middle fingers (with his gloves on) toward officials while heading to the penalty box. While in the box, he appeared to shout a homophobic slur at the officials.
The Blues hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.