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Roberto Luongo frustrated by NHL trying to ban Marc-Andre Fleury’s Native American Heritage mask
By Mike Gould2 months ago
Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has expressed his displeasure at the National Hockey League attempting to ban a commemorative goalie mask worn by Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Friday.
Fleury, 38, skated out for warm-ups prior to Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche wearing a special one-off mask celebrating Native American Heritage Day.
But early on Friday, The Athletic‘s Michael Russo and Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, indicated that the league threatened significant fines against both Fleury and the Wild organization if the goaltender donned the mask prior to the game against Colorado.
The Wild held their own Native American Heritage celebration at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday. In advance of the special night, Fleury commissioned a mask designed by Native artist Cole Redhorse Taylor in honor of his wife, who is also Native.
Among the design elements inscribed on the mask are the names of Fleury’s children and a quote from his own father. The Wild shared a video to their official Twitter account on Friday highlighting the intricacy of the artwork on the mask.
After it became widely reported that the NHL planned to prevent Fleury from wearing the mask, due to its policy against players and teams wearing one-off equipment commemorating social causes, Luongo took to Twitter and shared a message seemingly out of exasperation about the league’s decision.
“I mean come on what are we even doing here??????” Luongo posted at 4:13 p.m. on Friday evening — just over an hour before Fleury defied the NHL’s policy and wore the mask anyway.
Luongo played against Fleury numerous times during his NHL career, and the two both represented Canada and won gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey tournament in Vancouver.
A veteran of 19 NHL seasons with the Canucks, Florida Panthers, and New York Islanders, Luongo retired from professional hockey in 2019 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2022. It’s a safe bet that Fleury will join him in there someday.
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