After the pomp and circumstance of both Seth Jones and Marc-André Fleury at the NHL Media Tour yesterday, when we got to see two of the newest Blackhawks decked out in their full gear, today we learned a little bit about how Fleury’s new mask design came about. Fleury’s mask for the Blackhawks, to me, is a simple design that almost feels like a template you would see in an EA NHL game. It has the Blackhawks primary logo, the city’s name, and some feather accents. Not the worst mask, but we’ve seen better.
Well apparently, according to Fleury’s designer Stephane Bergeron, there were three other designs for Fleury’s mask that were denied by the team, due to “racial tensions.”
Close up of Marc Andre Fleury’s @NHLBlackhawks mask. Per his painter Stephane Bergeron “three concepts [were] refused by the team due to racial tensions…Many elements related to the natives can not be reproduced on the masks of the Blackhawks which greatly limits my creativity.” pic.twitter.com/yFLH318Cwq
— Goalie Gear Nerd (@GoalieGearNerd) September 17, 2021
Here’s where I would insert the “Not great, Bob” meme from Mad Men.
“Limits my creativity” is not a great line in there from Bergeron. Without the use of racially insensitive imagery, you can’t be creative? Yikes. Perhaps/hopefully, the quote was taken somewhat out of context, because on the surface, it’s apparently lacking a bit in self-awareness.
“Racial tensions” are what I would assume the organization is trying to smooth-over with all of the initiatives they have implemented in the past few years to support, inform, and fund for Indigenous people, culture, and history. But, the Blackhawks will continue to have these issues so as long as their name is still the “Blackhawks” and their logo remains the face of a Native American.