Report: Tortorella surprises beaten fan
The New York Rangers are rolling out a blue carpet for the fan who was beaten in Philadelphia last week.
Neal Auricchio Jr., 30, the Iraq war hero assaulted by Flyers fans following the Jan. 2 Winter Classic, will be the guest of head coach John Tortorella at Madison Square Garden for the Feb. 27 game against the Devils.
Tortorella phoned Auricchio Monday to personally extend the invitation.
"It absolutely lifted his spirits," Auricchio's wife, Maria, told the New York Post. "He's, and we're all, such big Rangers fans. It was great [to get Tortorella's call]."
Auricchio — a former US Marine who earned a Purple Heart — was hospitalized with a concussion following the beating, which happened outside Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.
Video of the attack shows three men in Flyers jerseys punching Auricchio as he lies on the ground.
Auricchio, who works as a police officer in Woodbridge, N.J., went to a hospital after returning home and required stitches in his cheek and head.
No arrests have been made in the attack.