The NHL has launched an investigation into the possible use of a homophobic slur in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
Television cameras picked up what sounded like a slur with 1:51 left to play in the second period as Tampa Bay's Yanni Gourde and Toronto's Morgan Rielly skated into the Maple Leafs' defensive zone on a dump in.
WATCH | Warning: the video below may contain offensive language
The incident occurred near the end of the second period of Tampa's 6-2 win in Toronto on Monday. 0:38
"The NHL is aware of reports that a homophobic slur was used during the Maple Leafs-Lightning game," read the statement. "The League is investigating the incident and will have no further comment until this investigation is completed."
Two hours after the game Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas also issued a statement.
"The Club is aware of the reports surrounding a homophobic slur used during the Maple Leafs versus Lightning game on Monday night," said Dubas. "The issue of homophobia is one the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club strongly condemns and takes very seriously. We are in communication with the NHL and are co-operating fully with their office."
Players have been disciplined in the past for using homophobic slurs. In 2016, then-Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was suspended one game and fined $ 5,000 US for using an anti-gay slur from the penalty box during a playoff game against the St. Louis Blues. He directed the "inappropriate gesture" to an on-ice official.
A year later, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was fined $ 10,000 for using an apparent homophobic slur in a playoff game against the Nashville Predators, a move that was heavily criticized as being too lenient.