Officer Neal Auricchio Jr., a New York Rangers fan who attended the game with a friend, was jumped by a group of Philadelphia Flyers fans outside the popular Geno’s cheesesteak shop.
The victim is also a former Marine who earned the Purple Heart during his service in Iraq, where he served two tours, according to NBC TV.
“He got banged up pretty badly," Neal Auricchio, Sr., told NBC TV. “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.”
Woodbridge Township spokesman John Hagerty told ESPNNewYork.com that the officer was home from the hospital after receiving stitches to close his wounds. The New York Post reported that Auricchio had suffered a concussion as well.
“He's in fine condition," Hagerty said. "He's resting and doing well."
Philadelphia police hoping to identify the three suspects released a video of the brutal assault.
The attack took place shortly after 7 p.m. following the Rangers’ 3-2 victory over the Flyers in the much-publicized game played on a rink built inside the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball stadium, Citizens Bank Park.
The video shows a man in a Flyers jersey pushing two men in Rangers jerseys and then punching one of them, apparently Auricchio. A fight then breaks out with two men in Flyers jerseys pummeling Auricchio, and one in a Flyers jersey and another in a dark coat pounding on the other Ranger fan.
When Auricchio gets up and tries to help his friend, his flung back to the ground where he remained without moving.
According to the New York Post, the cop is married and has an infant son.
The New York Daily News reported that one of the assailants might have identified himself on the Facebook page of the Broad Street Hockey blog.
“It was me and my friends, do something about it,” he bragged in the comments section of a graphic video of the fight. Then, after adding an anti-gay comment, he wrote, “How dumb do I look knocking someone out pretty sure they look dumb eatin concrete.”
The person entering the comment was identified as Edward Neary, according to the Daily News. ESPNNewYork.com reported, however, that the person backtracked on his comment, but was still to be interviewed by police.
John McCormac, mayor of Woodbridge and a friend of the Auricchio family, told NBC New York that “regardless of the result of the game, this should not have happened to a good, decent young man who's truly a war hero.”
—JOE GREENE, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM