The Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 Friday at the Xcel Energy Center. Normally, that would be the big news, but for most people, the news occurred in the hours before the game and in the warmups with Minnesota goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and his battle with the NHL.
In response to controversies over Pride Nights last season, the NHL banned custom designs on equipment this season. Despite the NHL and NHLPA coming to a recent agreement on Pride tape, no other issues or themes were approved for on-ice recognition.
The former first-overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins had a mask designed by Mdewakanton Dakota artist Cole Redhorse Taylor that honors Native Americans and Indigenous peoples. Fleury planned to wear the mask Friday, which was a theme night American Heritage Night, honoring Native peoples.
The NHL said no and, according to agent Allan Walsh, would not only fine Fleury for wearing the design, but fine the Minnesota Wild, too.
Marc-Andre Fleury indicated he was planning to wear the mask anyway and pay the fine. The NHL then threatened the Wild organization with an additional significant fine. https://t.co/iVmCqyQR2H
— Allan Walsh🏒 (@walsha) November 24, 2023
Fleury defied the order and wore the mask in warmups.
Adding further context, the goalie’s wife, Veronique, is Indigenous. The mask also included a quote from his father, Andre, and the names of his children.
Correction: Fleury did not play in the game Friday but wore the mask in warmups.