Minnesota Mascot Beating Offends Chicagoans

A time-tested tradition seen in the professional sphere as well as in collegiate events, mascot rivalry is baked into most all sporting events. In an ideal world, mascots get the audience pumped for their team and, sometimes, alleviate tension between opposing teams ... or have the opposite effect. When mascots aren't busy rallying the audience, they may engage in mock fights with one another. These fights serve as entertainment for families, lending the cold, adult world some fun-loving, cartoonish antics.

Contrasting sharply is the event that took place at half-time during the NHL Minnesota Wild vs. Montreal Canadiens game. Prior to the intermission, Chicago Blackhawks Tommy Hawk smashed birthday cake in Minnesota Wild Nordy's face backstage, inciting the subsequent beating on the ice.

For many, the joke was taken beyond playfulness and was an act of unmitigated violence. Following an unfavourable news column in the Chicago Tribune and an unhappy response on social media, the NHL contacted the professional hockey team and asked for an explanation. The Wild issued the following statement: "We apologize to anyone offended by the mascot skit Thursday night. It was certainly not our intention."

The skit started out simply enough with multiple mascots gathering to celebrate Minnesota Wild mascot Nordy's birthday.  Presumably, Nordy was blindfolded before being handed a baseball bat. Tommy Hawk, mascot of the Chicago Blackhawks, held a pinata aloft, dangling it from a line attached to the end of a hockey stick. Nordy takes a swing and ... wallops Tommy Hawk with a direct hit to the stomach. Yowza. The bat drops to the ice as Tommy Hawk doubles over in supposed pain. Nordy takes advantage of the situation, quickly stooping for the bat before launching a direct hit on Tommy Hawk's exposed back. And down the bird goes.

In the foetal position on the cold, hard ice, Tommy Hawk can only cringe in turn as Nordy wails on him again and again with the bat. He's hit eight more times, suffering blows to his elbow, torso, knees, buttock and shin. All the while, the announcer is encouraging the beating: "Nordy, you hit the pinata! Keep swinging, keep swinging. You almost broke it open!"

At the end of the unsettling scene, Nordy drops the bat and is pulled away by the New Jersey Devils mascot, the NJ Devil. Tommy Hawk lies prone on the ice, playing dead.

Twitter weren't too happy about it.

Actually, quite a few supported the skit.

All in all, the entire affair did prompt some relevant and highly amusing jokes.

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