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Assaulted Rangers fan was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq

Jan 5, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

Neal Auricchio

The Rangers fan who was attacked by a trio of Flyers fans following Monday’s Winter Classic is a former Marine that was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq.

Neal Auricchio – currently a member of the Woodbridge Police Department in New Jersey – was shot in the leg while serving overseas, though that didn’t stop him from returning for a second tour.

NBCNewYork.com spoke with Auricchio’s father about his son’s condition following the assault.

“He got banged up pretty badly,” said Neal Auricchio Sr. “Stitches in the one eye, and the other eye is pretty puffed up. He went for a CAT scan today, and we’re waiting for the results on that.”

Just a little tip for any aspiring thugs out there – if you’re going to attack someone, you might want to avoid war heroes.

And police officers.

And especially war heroes that are also police officers.

Just a bad PR move.

  1. davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Jeez, folks assaulting fans of rival hockey teams just can’t catch a break these days. If they don’t turn out to be a cancer survivor they’re a GD war hero or something.

  2. rarelyshaves - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    in philadelphia????

    i just simply dont believe this story one bit

    • ml3939 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Your a douche bag. These types of reprehensible actions happen everywhere, not just Philadelphia. There are bad people throughout this country regardless of geographical location. How come you didn’t blindly throw any other major city out there?

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        You’re completely right – guys get beat up everywhere. But at the same time the ‘Philadelphia sports fan’ identity is something that in a lot of ways was brought on themselves. Bragging about how the old Vet used to have a jail/court inside of it. proudly throwing batteries at opposing teams… while Philadelphia is not the only place where this stuff happens it seems to be the only place where aggressive actions (although not to this extent usually) are lauded.

      • ml3939 - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        I live in the area, I am not sure I have heard anyone showing off about throwing batteries or beating people up. I have heard people take pride in Philly being a tough town. I think if you went around this area the overwhelming majority of people would freely admit the guys in this video or the idiots that threw batteries at J.D. Drew are just that, idiots, and not representative of the general population.

      • rarelyshaves - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        youre in denial

        have fun cleaning urinals, you low class shitbird

      • ml3939 - Jan 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        Don’t blame me because there is not a spot for you in your family’s business.

  3. Stiller43 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    HA. What a terrible person to attack. Right or wrong (and theres no reason they could have possibly been right unless this guy was trying to harm them, which he wasnt), youre forever known as an a hole who beat up a war hero.

    Thats classic.

  4. dcowboyfan - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    @davebabychreturns…….You are a complete D-head …..To even try to make a joke about this just shows the mentality most ” philly ” fans have !!!!!
    Absolutely NOTHING funny about this !!!!

    • dwil12 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      now see i would agree with you if he was in some way making fun of the people who were assaulted in this situation however thats not the case as he was just being sarcastic. you sir are the d-head for over reacting.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Hey D-cowboyfan, sorry you think I am a D-head.

      For the record I am not a Flyers fan..I also do not condone attacking people over allegiances to sports teams (or anything else, really), and people with an adult level of reading comprehension – or whose reading comprehension isn’t seriously clouded by their level of emotion (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this is a case of the latter) probably already realize that.

      My comment was sarcastic in nature, ie. not an earnest expression of my thoughts and feelings. My intent was rather to highlight the fact that normally, assaulting people at sports evens barely registers with people – however in the last few weeks two occurrences have got national media attention because the victim turned out to have some compelling circumstance in their lives.

      (If only all assaults were as publicized, and the perpetrators of those assaults were as vilified as these people are.)

      Anyway if you’re this worked up about someone making a joke on a touchy subject, I’d suggest you steer clear of comment sections on the internet going forward – it’s a jungle out there.

  5. jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    bad headline jason….you dont “win” a purple heart dude. i’m pretty sure most guys would pass on that competition, its not something you go out trying to “win”

    • jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      *thanks for the correction

  6. charliereno - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    As an active duty Marine, I can take pride in the fact that it took THREE lowlife Philly dipshits to take on ONE of my fellow brethren, and all they could do was bang him up. Semper Fi and get well soon Officer Auricchio.

  7. cruuuzcontrol - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Somewhere, in some anonymous corner of the Internet, that clown Edward Neary is crowing about how he and his cretin pals took out a Purple Heart winner. What goes around, comes around, Eddie.

  8. firemarshal1 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Typical Classless Flyer fans. Maybe, the NHL will instead fine the injured person (hero/police officer) for being a NYR fan. Or assess the NYR team a two penalty or penalty shot. Maybe, Mike Mibury will receive another free pass for his classless profanity. Will the NHL start treating the NYR’s fairly? ???

  9. firemarshal1 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Flyers and Eagles equal all hype with NO Championships.

  10. eagleswineagleswin - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Frankly he got what he deserved. He ran his yap while wearing a Rangers sweater in Philly. If he just shut his mouth and said nothing he would not have been bothered. Just because he is a veteran does not give him a pass. He probably became a Marine for the free education not because he wanted to serve his country.

    • dowhatifeellike - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      Trash talk is NEVER an excuse for physical violence. Never.

    • stakex - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Its great that your showing just what a garbage dump your city is, where people can be attacked for simply likeing a non-Philly team. Your doing the rest of the world a favor in showing them what people from Philly are like…. grade A trash.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Physical violence is not a porper response for verbal taunting. He didn’t ‘deserve’ to be put in the hospital you knucledragger.

      Also I find it equally appalling that you would question his reason for serving his country. Patriotism, a free education, heck if he just likes the dress blues… you NEVER question someone serving in the military, only thank and respect them.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      if you want a free education you join the chair force or the navy. this guy was a f-ing marine. either way, you dont jump a guy 3 on 1 because you dont like his jersey. thats what gang members do, not hockey fans

    • wethog66 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”

      Didn’t your Momma ever teach you that?

    • rarelyshaves - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      ml3939 – Jan 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Your a douche bag. These types of reprehensible actions happen everywhere, not just Philadelphia. There are bad people throughout this country regardless of geographical location. How come you didn’t blindly throw any other major city out there?”

      gentlemen, i rest my case

  11. cakrywyj - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    No offense. But I doubt the guys asked his military affiliation before punching him in the mouth… This shouldn’t make a difference in how wrong what the people did was…purple heart or not beating the shit out of someone in the middle of the street shouldn’t be tolerated no matter what the person has done. Don’t mistake this as me not giving a damn about a purple heart or anyone who serves the united states. But if we found out after the fact that the kid who was beaten was a piece of garbage would that make it less wrong?

    • stakex - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Great point. Its horrible to see a war vet get attacked for simply wearing his favorite teams jersey… but its horrible to see ANYONE get attacked for that.

      While these Flyer fans are low lifes that should be locked up for quite some time, its not like they knew they were attacking a war hero who was also a cop. This was just a couple d-bags attacking an innocent man, and thats how it should be treated.

  12. eagleswineagleswin - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Glad he is a former Marine. Would hope a real Marine could handle a few drunk out of shape slobs from Philly

    • richie500 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      I bet you still live at home loser! Just like the losers who attacked this guy!

    • jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      not as mean, not as lean, but still a marine. once a marine always a marine. there is no such thing as a former marine you dumb fuck

      • eagleswineagleswin - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        not as mean, not as lean, but still a marine. once a marine always a marine. there is no such thing as a former marine you dumb fuck

        That’s hilarious. Does this mean you pee on dead bodies still. Marines are the classless branch of our forces

  13. idiotfan22 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    wow.. u are absolute moron and should do the world a favor and go jump off a bridge. wtf are u.to question why anybody joins the service. You probably work at bank and don’t do sh*t with yourself u terrorist. closes thing for u is Call of Duty. What a joke.. Eagles suck as the Flyers and ur city.

  14. idiotfan22 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    your right.. SF ..LA and SJ.. all west coast till now.

  15. dowhatifeellike - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    You know who harms people for wearing the wrong colors on their turf?

    Gangs.

    Philly fans are no better than a gang.

  16. eagles512 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    These 3 should be locked up for years but something tells me this wouldn’t be on this site if it happened elsewhere.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Well, as I implied earlier a Sharks fan got national media coverage after assaulting a teenage Canucks fan (who had recovered from cancer)..

      But I don’t think that got covered here.

      I guess you are right, NBC/Universal/Comcast really is biased against the Flyers and the people of Philadelphia.
      :)

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Err wait, it did get covered – call off the lynch mob, it turns out that the owners of the Philadelphia Flyers may not in fact be biased against their own team and fans.

      • jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM

        with their relationship with philly i believe the nbc/comcast/ge liberal conglomerate has been overall fair in their bias. i was expecting to see only flyers games on this network when they bought versus, so far not so bad

  17. cakrywyj - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Hmm this is interesting. Apparently all you have to do is google “fan beaten” and you get things like this gem…

    A diehard Jets fan was savagely beaten on his own turf by a drunken gang of Kansas City Chiefs fans after their team was trounced on Sunday — with one of the assailants barking “F–k New York” and “You all deserved what happened on 9/11!” the victim’s distraught family told The Post.

    But wait… That’s not a marine in Philly. More importantly.. Where’s the story bashing Chiefs fans???

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      Probably nowhere to be found on any hockey blogs..

      • cakrywyj - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Thanks smartass… but if youll read above the conversation turned to a subject bigger than just hockey… this is a sports talk site after all isnt it? Not just NBC hockey talk… more specifically that fan violence only happens in certain cities… so here’s my contribution… thanks for you contribution…

  18. bigtganks - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Nobody wants to hear the easy answer, but…

    Stop serving alcohol at these events.

  19. dcowboyfan - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    In response to davebabychreturns…..I am man enough to admit that i completely jumped the gun as i half glanced at the comment that you were expressing. For that sir, i am sorry. Please except my apology.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      No problem, it’s all in good fun. Kudos for coming back and correcting a misunderstanding, most people never own up to their mistakes online.

    • dwil12 - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      i too can appreciate this comment and can give it a thumbs up. i rescind my previous statement of turning your d-head comment back at you. although i do strongly disagree with your choice to be a cowboys fan but thats an argument for another time.

  20. mikey4058 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Does anybody look on YouTube

  21. 8man - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Methinks there is more to develop in regards to this story. And if I were one of those tangerine clad fans involved in this beating, I’d be a little worried about a pending investigation.

  22. cakrywyj - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Uh oh Boston… Found this one.. Only covered in Canada convieniently

    Several Vancouver Canucks fans seeing Game 3 in Boston Monday night say they were verbally and physically assaulted by Bruins supporters when the on-ice violence spilled over the boards, first into the stands and then onto the street.

    Canucks fans who spoke to CTV News claim the crowd inside TD garden was outraged by their presence, saying some took out their anger on the Vancouver fans who traveled thousands of kilometres to Beantown to watch.

    Rob Young said the tension inside the arena was so high that taunts quickly turned to violence, with one Bruins fan head butting a nearby Vancouver supporter.

    “The Boston guy went for a head butt and head butted one of the Vancouver fans and it started a big kafuffle right away,” Young told CTV News.

    “And to the credit of Vancouver fans, they backed away and then the cops came pretty quickly.”

    • jpelle82 - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      “And to the credit of Vancouver fans, they backed away and then the cops came pretty quickly.”

      kinda like danielle did when marchand punched him in the face 5 times uninpededly. or when henrietta falls down and looks for a striped arm to come up for help

      • dowhatifeellike - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        Way to completely miss the point, jpelle.

  23. kingjoe1 - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    The story is about the jersey they were wearing and because the dude is vet and cop. This hype around this is media generated; a media who fail to mention the hundreds of other beatings which take place on a daily basis.

    I guess Nike fans beat up Reebok fans who works at a Hess station doesnt have the same ring.

    With that said people turn to violence because they are scum and the folks fighting are scum

  24. firemarshal1 - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    After reading further comments from Philadelphia fans, violence should never be tolerated, except in self defense. It’s a measurement of a society. Nothing but dumb bullies.

  25. pack15forever - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Little did we know that when Philadelphia was named the City of Brotherly Love they meant Cain and Abel. Stay classy Philly!

  26. eagleswineagleswin - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    The headline should read :Assaulted Ranger fan awarded a purple face outside of Geno’s.

    Hilarious!

  27. steelpenguin71 - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Philly – the entire city and everyone in it needs to fall off the earth. Their mouths get bigger and the get more brave the more of them there are. One on one not so brave not so loud

  28. dcent87 - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    lol steel penguin urn a ducking moron…along with the rest of you…none of you know the full storey…so who’s to say the tangerine fan didn’t start it…and just cause this happens in philly don’t mean or doesn’t happen anywhere else in America…so hop off your pedistools and wake the duck up and realize whats really happening here

    • rivestar - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      The one Ranger fan did strike first and then his fellow buddy in The Callahan Jersey got off the 1st sucker punch and then they both got rolled. You reap what you sow.

  29. dcent87 - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    fucking autospell :$

  30. dcent87 - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    o and by the way steel faggot…u come from a city with a rapeist as a god (big Ben) ..so I don’t expect u to b too smart

  31. steelpenguin71 - Jan 8, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    philthadelphia fan 87 “it could have happened anywhere” Please, it doesn’t happen everywhere. 3 on 1? Yeah the Ranger fan started it.. If you would like to compare the arrest and prison records of each QB I’d be happy to do that…Vick? The we can compare trophies? Your a joke, just shut your fat cheese steak eaten cock holster and move on.

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