TORONTO (AP) — The NHL investigated the possible use of a homophobic slur during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 6-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, but said it found no evidence that a player had directed the word toward a referee.
Television cameras picked up what sounded like a slur with 1:51 left in the second period.
But the league said Tuesday that it interviewed several participants in the game, including Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and referee Brad Meier, plus reviewed audio.
“All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements,” Colin Campbell, the league’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement.
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and Rielly were to meet the media on Tuesday afternoon.
Dubas earlier had issued a statement, “The issue of homophobia is one the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club strongly condemns and takes very seriously.”