In mascot beating skit, did the Minnesota Wild cross a line?

Nordy, the Minnesota Wild mascot that’s apparently some sort of bipedal bear or cat, celebrated its birthday last night by having some friends over.

It looked tame enough: a few other NHL mascots joined him on the ice between periods at Xcel Energy Center.

Then Nordy took a baseball bat and started to beat the living crap out of Tommy Hawk, the Chicago Blackhawks mascot.

“Keep swinging! Keep swinging! Keep swinging!” the PA announcer implored as the crowd jeered.

The whole thing was probably intended to be all in fun, and there were plenty of reactions online that understood the Wild’s likely goal of acting out the team’s rivalry with Chicago.

But a simulated beating isn’t exactly in good taste, even in a professional hockey league where grown men fight during a game.

Here’s a sampling of the less-than-happy views from Twitter:

Chicago Tribune columnist Chris Kuc didn’t like it either:

For a league trying to eradicate unnecessary violence on the ice and promote a family atmosphere, the image of a mascot raising a bat over his head and delivering repeated blows to a helpless individual — whether wearing a bird costume or not — can’t be ideal.

The Wild plan to issue a statement, Kuc reported.


  • Gary F

    The crowd’s initial reaction was to cheer, but then they kinda got quiet. I think they realized this was unnecessary.

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the meeting that thought up that stunt.

  • Reminds me of the Timberwolves “Harlem Shake” video that went viral a few years ago…

  • Al

    I love a good enforcer, but… yeah, that seems a little tone-deaf.

  • BReynolds33

    I feel like maybe we need to focus on things that matter. The mascot was “blindfolded.” Pretty sure it was meant to simulate thinking “he” was hitting a pinata.

    As for Mr. Kuc, maybe he should focus on his local team and the league continuing to promote the hell out an accused rapist as the face of the team / league, and worry less about idiotic mascot routines that they don’t get.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Pinata. That’s the first thing that I thought of also with the blindfold.

  • Mike Worcester

    They will probably offer one of those patented “we’re sorry anyone was offended by our stunt as we only wanted to entertain” statements. It may also include a reference about how they take unnecessarily violence seriously and in no way were trying to encourage violent behavior on their part of their fans. And they then will conclude with some sort of “we’ll do our best in the future not to duplicate a silly stunt like that again” and then thank everyone for being hockey fans and all that.

    I think there is a template for that sort of effort at the NHL offices that all the major sports leagues share.

    Or maybe they will surprise is with a real act of contrition? Maybe?

    • BReynolds33

      My statement would be “suck it up, because life is way harder than this.”

  • MrE85

    Pro sports are so bad, even the mascots misbehave. The ones for the male teams, that is. Whoever heard of Prowl causing a fuss?

    • DavidG

      That bad behavior is increasingly found in women’s sports as well.

  • BReynolds33

    As pointed out to me on Twitter, I sure hope none of these poor, easily offended children that need mascots explained to them have ever watch an episode of Looney Tunes. Or, I suppose, Tom & Jerry, or any number of other cartoons.

    • GuyatComputer

      Thank you for saying this. Also, if your children mean that much to you, please don’t let them be raised by mascots.

  • Juanna Taquette

    and yet no one was up in arms when the cavs mascot did this same skit….7 YEARS AGO

  • Rob

    I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out (ba dum dum). Oh, wait – it wasn’t a real fight in which players were seriously injured, it was just a fake fight involving mascots. And the fake fight was in poor taste, but the real-life assaultive behavior that’s part and parcel of hockey isn’t in poor taste? Oi!

    • John

      you got your one liner backwards. Isn’t it “I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.” ??

      • Rob

        Damn autocorrect : )

  • jon

    I saw this happen before…

    Life imitates art.

  • ReportTheTruth

    There was also lead up to this event that was not mentioned in this article. Give people the whole story, isn’t that the role of a reporter? Tommy the Hawk had thrown a birthday cake in Nordy”s face earlier in the night. Did parents have to talk to their kids about that violent act?

  • Angry Jonny

    As a parent of two hockey kids, I’m increasingly uncomfortable about the normalizing of violence, especially the reveling in it; glorifying slashing, checking, tripping, all the parts of the game that have little to do with actually getting a shot on goal. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not expecting hockey to be a gentle sport by any means, and I don’t downplay its value in creating a healthy level of competitive spirit in kids. But there are times that it feels like it’s devolving into Lord Of The Flies in the locker room.

    That said, here’s this:

  • Yeah, it was a little over the top, but I’m pretty sure it was the piñata gag “gone wrong.”

    As already mentioned, Nordy was blindfolded, there was what looks to be a piñata at the end of the Hawk’s stick, and after the “beating” Nordy looked rather stunned that he did, in fact, miss the piñata with the bat…

  • Paul

    Boxing must be the devil to these parents.

    • Rob

      Boxing is the devil to anybody seeking to avoid concussions and detached retinas.

  • DavidG

    What makes Kuc think the league is trying to eradicate
    unnecessary violence from the game?

  • Jeff C.

    Maybe they could have let the “beating” start and then someone could have QUICKLY stopped Nordy and told him he was making a horrible mistake instead of watching the bludgeoning go on as if it was entertainment.