Hockey player Joel Ward became a trending topic on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

Ward, a seldom-used right winger for the Washington Capitals who also happens to be black, scored the winning goal in last night's sudden death Game 7 thriller against the Boston Bruins. It was the 46th goal in his 14 year career in professional hockey and surely the most important one he'd ever scored. Needless to say, he was overjoyed with the goal.

Bruins fans weren't thrilled, however, and many took to Twitter to broadcast their disgust. In doing so, they exposed the racism that underlies the heavily white dominated sport, bringing shame to the hockey community.

Ward's name has received more than 30,000 mentions on Twitter since the final whistle blew. An unfortunately high number of these were offensively ignorant:

"what a coincidence, a ni**er stole the stanley cup from the bruins!” wrote @Clifford_BigRed.

"stupid ni**er go play basketball hockey is a white sport," added @zvanasse30.

For those not yet adequately enraged, a more comprehensive list is of the racist tweets is available at chirpstory.com.

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis addressed the racist outbreak on his personal website this morning:

Shame on these folks who decided to take to their keyboards and show their ignorance and their racism and hate.

What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of hate mongering. Their messages should now stay glued into the algorithms to place a forever warning and a mark upon these people and their actions. They shouldn’t be able to escape their keystrokes.

Many of the individuals who sent racists tweets about Ward, like Brandon Gaucher (@Gaucherhockey24) and John Devine (@JDevine04), have either deleted their tweets or deactivated their accounts.

Hopefully they’d gotten enough heckling from other users to realize their tweets were not welcome.

Photo via Facebook