The National Hockey League has nixed plans by Minnesota Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to wear a Native American-themed mask during warmups during the team’s Native American Heritage Night on Friday.
Fleury asked a member of the Prairie Island Indian Community to decorate the mask but said he was “bummed” that he could not wear it on the ice.
As part of Native American Heritage Night and to honor his wife, who is native, Marc-Andre Fleury had a custom-designed mask created by Cole Redhorse Taylor. Mask quotes his dad on back, has names of his kids.
He’s bummed the NHL has informed him he can’t even wear in warmups pic.twitter.com/wTR1BtkLOI
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) November 24, 2023
According to Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, the player intended to wear the mask anyway. However, when word came down that he’d face a significant penalty, Fleury decided not to risk it, Fox News reported.
The ban on Fleury’s mask is part of the league’s decision in June to deemphasize special jerseys, tapes, and other items made up specially for cause celebrations.
At the time, NHL Board of Governors Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the jerseys had become a “distraction.”
As more and more players made announcements that they were refusing to wear gay night jerseys, Berrman insisted, “That’s just become more of a distraction from really the essence of what the purpose of these nights are. We’re keeping the focus on the game. And on these specialty nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.”
In October, the league also banned the use of so-called “pride tape” on sticks.
However, not long after, the NHL caved into gay activists who complained about the ban on pride tape, and reversed the ban.