The New York Rangers plan to honor the police officer who was beaten by thugs outside a popular Philadelphia restaurant following last week's NHL Winter Classic.
The New York Post reports that Woodbridge, N.J. police officer and Iraq war veteran Neal Auricchio will be the guest of honor at the Rangers Feb. 27 game against the New Jersey Devils.
The Rangers head coach John Tortorella called the recovering Auricchio and asked him to be his personal guest.
While waiting in line outside Geno's Steak House after the game, Auricchio and a friend were attacked, apparently because they were wearing New York Rangers jerseys. The Rangers won the game, 3-2.
Police released video footage of several men wearing Philadelphia Flyers jerseys sucker-punching one victim— knocking him to the ground and beating him— and then attacking Auricchio, the second victim.
A man boasted about the brawl on a Facebook blog and was questioned by police.
No arrests have been made in the attack.
Auricchio is still nursing a concussion but was more than happy to accept the red carpet invitation to Madison Square Garden.
"It absolutely lifted his spirits," said wife Maria Auricchio. "He's, and we're all, such big Rangers fans. It was great to get [Tortorella's call]."