Joel Ward picked a good time to score his first goal since Feb. 24. Ward’s overtime winner Wednesday night in Boston sent the Bruins packing and the Capitals to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But there’s an unfortunate side to his heroic story, as Ward quickly fell victim to an onslaught of racism comments from angry Bruins fans on Twitter. Capitals Game 7 hero Joel Ward joined WGFX in Nashville to discuss his game-winning goal against Boston and the unfortunate response from racist fans.
On the overtime goal to clinch the series:
“It was crazy, man. Mike Knuble blocked a shot on the dump in and he just kind of carried it and next thing I know we were on a 2-on-1, and we had a little bit of a break. And I knew that he was gonna go take it to the net and I just tried to follow up behind him, just in case if there’s a loose puck or rebound. And sure enough it just popped right there and I just took a good whack at it and it went in.”
On clinching the series in overtime on the road:
“On the road is that much (more) special. I think, in a hostile environment in the opposition and all you’ve got is just the guys. Obviously we’d love to do it at home in front of our fans, and we had that chance and we missed that. But I was just glad to win overall. It was a good feeling too, regardless of home or away.”
On the racist comments made about him on Twitter after the game:
“One of my teammates that was on the plane just kind of gave me head’s up about it. He kind of just caught wind of it somehow, and I didn’t really know what it was or what was going on. He just said a couple of rough comments are being made on the Twitter feed and different blogs or what have you. Yeah, no I didn’t really pay any attention to it. You know, he just kinda gave me a head’s up on it and just, if anything he can — if I needed a hand on anything, which was great. But when I got home, I checked it out and, I mean, it didn’t really bother me. The realization of it is I am black and I’m playing a predominantly white sport. And, I mean, you hope that doesn’t exist but realistically it does and racism will exist — it’s just, you try to limit that as much as you can, especially in our sport of hockey, which we love. I mean, it is what it is. There’s just a couple of — you know, I don’t hate the city of Boston or the team or anything — it’s just a couple bad apples that ruined it. The more upsetting part for me is the fact that it took away the spotlight of the other players, like our goalie, who played unbelievable all series and deserves all the recognition possible. Now it just so happens everyone wants to talk about the few racial comments.”