Hockey is for everyone… unless you want to honor your wife’s heritage? The Minnesota Wild held their Native American Heritage Night on November 24. Leading up to the game, Marc-Andre Fleury debuted a special mask to wear during warmups to honor his wife who is Native Canadian.
The NHL informed him that he would not be allowed to wear the mask even during warmups. His agent, Allan Walsh, revealed that when Fleury was planning to pay the fine and wear it still, the Wild organization was threatened with a more significant fine.
Marc-Andre Fleury ended up wearing the mask anyways during warmups and put it up for auction. To our knowledge, no fines have been handed to either Fleury or the Wild organization.
So, what even was the rule in the first place? In June, the NHL announced that teams were no longer allowed to wear specialty jerseys during warmups for their themed nights supporting various causes.
Then at the start of the season, the NHL further added that themed tape and specifically Pride tape would be banned. This caused Travis Dermott to decide to use the tape anyways. But of fining Dermott, as would be expected for violating a rule, the entire ban on Pride tape was reversed.
These two stories parallel each other. The NHL decided to ban showing support for any cause but both players called the league’s bluff and were not penalized at all.
This all begs the question, what even is the rule? Who is it benefiting? Are all the threatened consequences and fines just empty words?
On the Stars, Jason Robertson is vocally outspoken about his pride for his Filipino Heritage. If the Dallas Stars were to have a Filipino or Asian heritage night, or even if he wanted to wear something within uniform regulations on a normal night to honor that, would he be able to? What if he were to put a sticker on his helmet.
That might not be allowed. Logan Thompson was told he would not be allowed to put a purple Cancer ribbon on his helmet. But the Philadelphia Flyers just wore Hockey Fights Cancer hats a few days ago while giving some children fighting cancer special memories with the team and honoring those who in that battle.
If a policy is put into place there should logically be a reason for it. Teams have continued to wear special jerseys over suits before games. Players were vocally outspoken against the tape and jerseys bans. Those opinions have been made loud and clear.
I hope the NHL reverses these bans that nobody is in support of. The inconsistencies are not only confusing, but are gaining the NHL so much negative press are not helping the game of hockey at all. I’m happy that Marc-Andre Fleury went ahead and wore the helmet. Let teams and players be supportive of these causes the way they have been doing for many years now.