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When Sharks fans attack… A teenager with a brain tumor

Dec 30, 2011, 11:13 AM EDT

Sharks fans Getty Images

Fans behaving badly isn’t anything new these days, but sometimes there are stories that just make you shake your head.

One such story concerns 16-year-old Canucks fan in California Maggie Herger. Herger was attacked by a fan during a recent Canucks-Sharks game in San Jose that resulted in her being taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

That might not sound so bad until you consider Herger’s recent battle with a benign brain tumor. Attacking a teenager is one thing, but one that’s already dealt with a lot of crap in life? That just makes this whole thing a lot uglier.

Fans in California have had a bad  run of late when it comes to doing awful things at sporting events. Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death at a Giants-Dodgers game in L.A., some fans shot each other after a 49ers-Raiders preseason game plus a stabbing at a Raiders-Chargers game, and now this case.

As Herger told Mike Rosenberg of the Mercury News, “I was just really disappointed. I didn’t think that hockey fans were as bad as the baseball fans,” she said, recalling the Stow attack, which drew national headlines. “I didn’t think that anyone would physically hurt me.”

Sharks fans don’t have that reputation of being jerks the way others do, but having one of your own attack a girl with a brain tumor is a good way to earn a really bad rap.

Thanks to our friends at NBC Bay Area, here is an interview with Maggie Herger and her mother discussing what happened at the game.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    The woman who attacked her needs a lifetime ban from Sharks games. What an unbelievable idiot.

  2. jpelle82 - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    stay classy san jose

    • namriverrat69 - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      It’s a little too late for that.

    • sharks123 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      It was one person, not the city. Get a clue.

  3. markcycy - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    if that was philly it would have been all over the national news none stop ..

    • lonespeed - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      If that was in philly, it would have been treated as an everyday normal occurrence.

      • mkflyers2k - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        looks like someone has no clue what they are talking about. tell me the last time that a philly fan beat the crap out of a handicapped person? we are tough group of fans, and sure we kick the crap out of anyone. but…. we dont touch handicapped people.

      • foodforthesoul28 - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:05 AM

        This is to mkflyers2k…No i cannot recall the last time a flyers fan beat up another person but i do remember that guy that stuck his finger down his own throat and forced himself to puke all over a little girl in the playoffs a year or so ago. real classy yourselves! I understand that does not represent all of you just saying, who does that?

      • dwil12 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        foodforsoul, that was one guy and he got the crap kicked out of him by other fans because he deserved it for throwing up on that girl. this was a bunch of SJ fans harassing some poor girl. love when you idiots jump to conclusions about situations that you know nothing about.

      • letsgosharks - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        Nope Philly fans just intentionally vomit on kids at phillies games.

  4. lsxphotog - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    I thought there would be more details with this story, such as how the altercation occurred.

    • pens919209 - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      If you click any of the links here, you’ll read about how the ‘altercation’ occurred.

      Long story short – some drunken moron decides to clap the head of a teenage girl because she’s a Canuck’s fan… after spending a good deal of time bumping the two of them and cursing at them.

      Let’s hope someone who was there speaks up so they find out who this jerk is and file the appropriate charges against her.

      • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        The story clearly has two sides, and as always we are hearing just one side from the media. We also do hear in this article that the Police and Arena security claimed this was an accident.

    • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      There are a lot more details that have not been released.

      • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        My best guess how this went down, having been to well over 500 sharks home games. You have a visiting team fan showing up at the arena for the first or second time. That fan is most likely not paying attention to the game, or talking crap about the home team, and also leaning forward partially blocking the view of the fan behind them. After 3 public address announcements which the fan ignores (thinking they cannot tell me what to do at a private venue.) The fan sitting behind her probably asks her to lean back so they can see the game as well. The fan in front probably laughs, or gives the person a dirty look and ignores that request or starts talking crap. Which leads to an escalation of the a problem that could and should have been easily resolved if the one fan did not feel entitled to do whatever they want at a game.

      • pens919209 - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        “Arena staff, along with San Jose police, interviewed the person who made contact with the injured fan, who stated that the contact was accidental during the celebration of a Sharks goal. Upon being interviewed, others seated in the area of the incident did not report seeing the contact between the parties involved.”

        The police and the arena security didn’t say it was an accident – yet – if it even was one. The woman who hit the girl is the only one claiming it was accidental. Could it have been an accident? Sure. But I suspect that you don’t hit someone in the head hard enough to cause a minor concussion accidentally if all you are doing is sitting in the stands at an arena watching a game.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:57 PM

        “the person who made contact with the injured fan…stated that the contact was accidental during the celebration of a Sharks goal”

        I don’t know what they do in San Jose but I’ve never celebrated a goal by assaulting the closest fan of the opposition and I assume most other hockey fans can say the same.

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:36 PM

        FinFan88 **** you are a Fu%king idiot!

  5. mgp1219 - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    hey markcycy,

    SHUT UP!

  6. oside760 - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    i’m gonna go to the kings sharks game when they play in LA so I can sock up some stupid sharks fans

  7. markcycy - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    hey mgp1219

    you must be from new york………

  8. memphisyinzer - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Somebody surely can identify the pig that hit this girl. If it was an accident (and I doubt it), any normal human being with even the least bit of class would have tended to the girl and tried to help her after knocking her down. I hope to hell that they catch this bitch and hang her. This is going to give a beautiful city a bad name. Surely someone who witnessed it has the cahonies to step forward and ID this pig.

    I sure hope the little girl is okay. She surely doesn’t deserve this. And to the idiot that told her to suck it up…..may you be hit with a bus.

    • lrg51 - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Best way to get even with the drunken perp is to sue her ass… money speaks louder than words. Make her pay…

  9. govtminion - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    I’ll never understand how some people think that a sports rivalry is worth violence in the stands. It blows my mind every time something like this comes up- fans attacked for being a fan of the other team, riots after championships… sad, really, that there’s a few people out there who just can’t act like decent people.

  10. 44magpreacher - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Doesn’t come as much of a suprise to me. When I used to live in San Jose and attend Sharks games there was more fighting than hockey playing and the only times the fans got really loud was when a fight broke out. I got so disgusted with it that I quit going.

    • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      This is a total lie. I have been a Season Ticket Holder off and on since season one, and have never seen more then 1 fight at a Sharks game. In fact that fight was last year. The problem with (the little, and I mean very little) fan rowdiness at Sharks games is that a lot of people won’t obey the rules to sit back in their seats. The seating at the arena makes it almost impossible to get a full view of the ice when the person sitting in front of you is leaning forward. The team makes many announcements regarding this, and a lot of people just ignore it or think it is funny. The point is people need to have consideration for others as well.

      The most abusive people are those who new to Hockey, the “Band wagon” fan that their are a lot of now at Sharks games. And then the visiting fan, who thinks what applies in their arena applies everywhere.

      • 44magpreacher - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:05 PM

        You must have been absent from all the games I attended. I understand your allegiance to the team, but come on, only one game with more than one fight???? No one who knows anything about hockey will believe that.

      • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        Actually 44 magpreacher you are absolutely wrong. Fights seldom if NEVER happen inside the arena during games. Have seen 1 in all these years and that is a fact. I have been to well over 500 games, and I think every single playoff game sans 1 or 2 since the team has been in SJ. Never saw any of what you are claiming. And I sit in one of the most rowdy sections in the arena.

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        @Finfan88 … again you are a FU%KING MORON!

        The point of the matter is not how many games you or anyone has been to, the point is this happened at your rink, YOUR’S, not mine, not her’s… don’t defend it, just say this is sad and move on you clown

      • letsgosharks - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:47 PM

        So you’re saying the architects of HP Pavilion should be held accountable when a fan fight breaks out there?Thats stupid

    • sanjosecupcrazy - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      Dude, this is a total bag of crap. I’ve seen 3 fights in 15 years as a season ticket holder. Sharks fans are an extremely classy group. You must live in Anaheim or Vancouver.

  11. henryd3rd - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Can you spell lawsuit? The NFL seems to condone violence both on and off the ice. I guess someone must name Bettman and his fellow cronies in a lawsuit before these types of attacks come to an end.

    • finfan88shark - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

      That is basically all it is about. People feel that they have the rights to lean forward and do whatever they PLEASE to do. Rather then consider those sitting around them.

  12. kandh2004 - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    This is one reason I love this website cause you hear about the fans in every city. If this was Philly though it would be plastered all over ESPN for days on end. But other then that I hope they lock the stupid ass up for a while

  13. demoncat4 - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    not only did the moron show poor sportsman ship by attacking a girl who just had a brain tumor trteated but the fan was drunk also. hope the proper authorties find the moron fan and not only put her in jail but the girl gets a nice court settlement from the moron for her pain and suffering to her head. and the lawer files the lawsuit as quickly as possible

  14. sanjosecupcrazy - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    As a Sharks season ticket holder for the past 15 years, I was horribly disappointed to hear about this when the news first broke. On the news this morning though, the team and cops have cleared the person involved of any wrongdoing and believe it truly was an accident.

    In 15 years, I’ve seen three fights at our arena. Ironically, the most antagonistic games I’ve ever witnessed were last year in the conference finals, when a bunch of Canuck fans showed up spoiling for a fight. (We all saw what they did to their town after the cup finals). Sharks fans are extremely welcoming of other teams’ fans and, as a group, are extremely classy. Realize: this is the Silicon Valley wine-and-cheese crowd who dropped their 49er tickets 10 years ago and took up hockey. We lock the Raider fans in cages in Oakland and don’t let them make their way down 880.

    Extremely sad for the girl: if I was in the same situation, I’m not sure that I would buy the “accident” tag either and hopefully, she’s okay. More than anything, only the best thoughts for her to have a full recovery from her malady…. and I can guarantee that ALL Sharks fans, upon hearing this story, feel the same.

  15. imaduffer - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    San Jose, the arm pit of the bay area.

    • sanjosecupcrazy - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      You obviously don’t live here. That tag has resided with Oakland for 30 years running.

      • imaduffer - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        Lived there for 20 years, left after the politician and big money destroyed my neighborhood.

    • rufe - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      Do you know why Bart still does not go to the South Bay? Because we still do not want your thugs and lowlifes to have easy access to our beautiful city.

      Now, there is nobody that is more concerned or horrified about what happened to this girl than the people of San Jose aside from her parents. I have read the recent things said about California in general and it really irked me. But then to see that it happened in San Jose most likely from a San Josean just really, really pissed us all off. We are all with you in San Jose’s condemnation in this matter.

      • imaduffer - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        Why Bart is not in San Jose is simple. Money. When homes go for around $400,000 the county could not afford to buy out these homeowners for the right-away.

  16. lreadl - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Societies change.
    There used to be a thing called chivalry. Then the women’s movement came and chivalry died.
    There used to be a thing called decorum. Then MTV came and decorum died.
    Get used to this type of behavior. Things are not going to get better.
    Happy New Year.

  17. govtminion - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Is anything classier than people claiming an entire area sucks because of the actions of a few people? “San Jose sucks, this proves it”. Right. And where YOU’RE from is obviously better because…? Go on, explain. YOUR fan base has never had any ridiculous fans try to ruin the whole thing for everyone else. YOU’VE never had a riot after a championship. YOUR area fans never get in fights for no reason. And of course YOUR area fans don’t troll message boards trying to prove how much better they are than everyone else… right?

  18. keene1920 - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Did you ever see violence at a book signing, also at classical music concert? The hyper adrelain of your more violent sports brings out the worse in some people, Of course it might be said that a violent individual would get in a fight at check out lane at the grocer on the slightest pretext.


    • bostonbornandbred - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      After Everything Canucks fans did after game 7, are we really supposed to have a pity party for their fans? No 16 yr old deserves anything that this poor girl had to go through but people who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones

      • drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        You’re really trying to connect this incident to the riots? Don’t make Boston look worse than it already is.

      • danphipps01 - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        Stay classy, Boston.

      • kingbilly1 - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        bostonbornandbred – You are a moron. That is exactly the type of response people would expect from Boston trash.

      • foodforthesoul28 - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:17 AM

        I’m a Boston fan and I do have to say that were not all trash. This incident was more than likely due to a drunk idiot who could not control his/herself.

        I’m sorry but please tell me how Boston fans are not classy? Have you heard of the fans in Boston beating up people lately or forcing themselves to puke on a little girl? No. We don’t pick fights with other fans. At least I don’t and those who do, are drunk a-holes. So they shouldn’t even count…

        Can’t we all just enjoy the game of hockey instead of calling each other classless? That itself is classless.

  19. bgmcc907 - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Ok, so not in any way to justify or excuse what reportedly happened, but is there supposed to be a way anybody could have known the young lady in question was a brain tumor survivor? After all, that’s the element that makes this story so newsworthy, isn’t it?

    • xadins - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:18 PM

      I was wondering the same thing… I watched the first part of the video, and I honestly couldn’t tell which of the two was the brain tumor survivor (though I assume it was the one with shorter hair). Looks to me like it’s as you said, they hyped up the unusual circumstances to turn this into something it’s not. If it had been the girl’s sister getting clocked, I’m willing to bet no one outside San Jose would’ve heard about it.

  20. baboosiclkrd - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    The bottom line is a person was hurt during a game by someone who “accidentally” hit this young woman hard enough that she had to be taken away by ambulance. If I were this young woman’s parents I would sue this woman as no one “accidentally” hits someone that hard. I blame the security and police for taking the word of this woman who obviously assaulted this young woman. This is sad when a fan cannot enjoy seeing their favorite team no matter if it is at home or away. The only real account of this incident can be made by the girl and her sister. Comments made based on speculation really don’t matter, where a person is from shouldn’t matter or whether it was your home team or not doesn’t matter what matters is someone was assaulted and that should not be tolerated no matter whether it is at a hockety game or in a grocery store.

  21. phillytalk215 - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    this is sickening.

    hey philly haters, go puck yourself!

  22. theagitator1691 - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    No surprise with a classless organization like san jose there fans are no better.

    • letsgosharks - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Hey idiot!Explain just how the Sharks organization is classless?the Sharks are one of the best run organizations in ALL of sports.They try and win and they sign players who are good and don’t go out and get in trouble with the law.And they are always in the community assisting the less fortunate as well as giving children opportunities to play hockey and interact with the players.Think before you post fool!

  23. 8man - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    I really don’t believe this inidicative of how hockey fans or people from San Jose behave. No city is exempt from occasional buffoons who behave childishly and injure those around them with their antics. Every city in the NHL from Boston to Vancouver has had unsavory incidents that we’d all like to forget.

    More than likely, the fools who assaulted this young girl were there for their first hockey game, got tanked and already lacking class, made sure all around them knew they were pigs. Maggie seems like a lovely girl. Doubtless that the drunken sow that hit her from behind probably harbored some jealousy over that as well.

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