- NHL fans are not happy about a rumor concerning a policy the Washington Capitals appear to have instituted at Capital One Arena
- A viral photo suggests the team is banning fans from bringing in signs referencing Russia or Ukraine
- More cool stuff here
Ahead of Tuesday’s showdown between the Jets and the Canadiens in Winnipeg, a Ukrainian men’s choir was invited to perform a rendition of the country’s national anthem in a moment of solidarity following Russia’s invasion of its neighbor to the south.
Before the Winnipeg Jets game, Ukrainian men’s choir w 🇺🇦 anthem. Manitoba has a massive and proud Ukrainian population. Heavy. pic.twitter.com/su3zrtiOaL
— Dean Blundell (@ItsDeanBlundell) March 2, 2022
The conflict is a particularly hot-button issue in the hockey world thanks to the number of NHL players who hail from Russia. Last year, Rangers star Artemi Panarin found himself at the center of a smear campaign after criticizing Vladimir Putin, which put him at odds with fellow countrymen like Semyon Varlamov and Alexander Ovechkin, who have previously expressed support for the autocrat.
Last week, Ovechkin skated around the issue a bit when he issued a statement condemning the violence while neglecting to distance himself from the person who sparked it. It’s safe to say the Washington Capitals public relations team hasn’t exactly had an enjoyable couple of weeks, and now, they’ve found themselves dealing with another headache courtesy of a picture that’s circulating online.
On Friday, a photo that was allegedly sourced from the handbook given to employees at Capital One Arena made the rounds thanks to a new addition that suggests the venue recently updated its guidelines to specifically ban any signs with a reference to Ukraine or Russia.
— Slava Malamud 🇺🇦 (@SlavaMalamud) March 4, 2022
It appears the addendum was included to reinforce a preexisting ban on any messages deemed “political,” and contrary to what some people have erroneously stated, Ukrainian flags will still be permitted according to ESPN‘s Greg Wyshynski.
Confiscation of any Russia/Ukraine signs by @CapitalOneArena last night was “specific guidance consistent with arena’s sign policy” I’m told. (Attached)
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 4, 2022
It’s also worth noting its unclear where the picture originated and that its authenticity has yet to be verified; given the amount of misinformation that’s circulated since the start of the conflict, the veracity of the claim should be taken with a grain of salt (as of this writing, neither the Capitals nor their PR team has issued an official statement concerning the policy).
With that said, that hasn’t stopped plenty of hockey fans from operating under the assumption it’s real, and they have not been shy about ripping into the franchise and suggesting possible workarounds.
Every Capitals fan should wear #Ukraine flag colours
— Elite European Progressive Socialist (@wahube) March 4, 2022
So the @Capitals created a Ukraine-Russia problem. @SlavaMalamud tweets the team has a "no Ukraine-Russia signs" policy and did not allow a Ukrainian flag into last night's game; the video below tweeted by a Polish radio reporter clearly shows a guy in Row 3 with a Russian flag. https://t.co/Felwi8UCjC pic.twitter.com/rjtCK6IJm8
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 4, 2022
@Capitals why are you not allowing support for Ukraine at your games? Winnipeg jets did a beautiful tribute at their arena. Dump your Russian players and and take back your humanity. The world is watching 🌻🍁🇺🇦🇨🇦
— boho wraith 🇺🇦🇨🇦🍁🌻 (@boho_wraith) March 4, 2022
Can’t believe you’re banning signs in order to protect Ovi’s feelings. Lifelong fan and I’m done with yall. Utterly deplorable.
— Kamahri (@Kamahri_LCG) March 4, 2022
Everyone needs to pick up a Ukraine Hockey Jersey and head to a @Capitals game.
— WindowGuy (@windowguy11z) March 4, 2022
The Capitals will face off against the Kraken in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night, and I have a feeling there will be plenty of blue and yellow on display in the crowd.