TOMS RIVER-Police here investigated a report of an out of control hockey nazi showing players of a Jewish faith-based hockey team his swastika tattoo and making obscene gestures. The incident happened Saturday night at the township-owned Winding River hockey arena. Fans from the game called police after the man appeared to be taunting the players on the ice.
It turns out, according to police that the man was just a disgruntled hockey fan upset with the level of play on the ice and angry because a hockey jersey honoring his deceased friend was no longer on display at the arena.
According to police, employees at the ice rink stated that a white male with a shaved head and multiple tattoos entered the rink and walked past the employees while making obscene hand gestures.
He approached the ice area while taunting and making gestures towards the players. He then ripped off his shirt and continued to yell, witnesses told responding police officers.
After his tirade, the man left the complex without incident in a white pickup truck.
“Initially, the officers were told that the man may have been showing a swastika tattoo once his shirt was removed,” said police department spokesperson Ralph Stocco. “The police officers spoke to the employees; however they all add that they did not hear any specific comments made by the man in reference to the players.”
Stocco said several players were spoken to and they all confirm that the man was definitely out of sorts and aggressive but they heard no specific language, comments, or threats being that they were on the ice enjoying the game.
Police caught up with the man later that night at the intersection of Route 166 and Route 37, a few miles away from the initial scene at 2 am.
When asked about the incident at the hockey rink, the man stated he was in the area and stopped to see if his deceased friend’s jersey was still hanging at the rink.
“The Jersey was not observed and this agitated him,” Stocco said. “Additionally, he was not satisfied with the skill of the players on the ice. He then taunted them, at one point ripping off his shirt to show his many hockey related tattoos.”
The man voluntarily showed his tattoos to the officers and police confirmed he had no swastika tattoo.
“The officers believed that the man had no knowledge of the Jewish league on the ice at the time and his arrival was random,” Stocco added. “The man was permitted to leave and the incident will be assigned to detectives who will review the case and determine the appropriate charges, if any, to be signed against the individual.”
The incident highlight escalating tensions between Orthodox Jews and the population of Toms River and surrounding communities as the two communities continue to mesh with each other. It is in Toms River where the mayor here, Thomas Kelaher once identified the influx of Orthodox Jews in his community as “an invasion”.
Tensions in towns like Toms River and neighboring Jackson Township are on the rise between Orthodox Jews and the community.
Photo by The Lakewood Scoop.