Hockey fans are used to seeing some pretty brutal fights on the ice, but it’s usually between the players – not the mascots.
Not the case at Thursday night’s game between the Minnesota Wild and the Montreal Canadiens. During intermission at Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, the Wild invited several other NHL mascots to celebrate Nordy’s "birthday."
In attendance were the St. Louis Blues’ Louie, New Jersey’s NJ Devil and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Tommy Hawk – who apparently shoved a birthday cake into Nordy’s face.
Nordy then exacted his revenge when Tommy held up a piñata and a blindfolded Nordy "missed," smacking the Hawks mascot, who fell to the ground.
At the urging of the announcer, he continued to strike Tommy a total of 10 times as he theatrically writhed on the ice.
"Nordy! You hit the piñata! Keep swinging! Keep swinging!" the announcer shouted. "You almost broke it open!"
NJ Devil stepped in to restrain Nordy, who took off his blindfold in time to see a presumably unconscious Tommy dragged off the ice.
"Tommy, that’s what happens when you shove a cake in somebody’s face. Get him to medics," the announcer added.
The reaction of the crowd seemed to be mixed, as was the response on social media after the team tweeted a video of the encounter.
"Good thing to teach kids. Violence to people you dislike is the right thing to do," one response reads, while another called it "obviously a joke and for fun."
"I love the Wild and all but... I'm not really into simulated beatings, man," one fan tweeted, while another wrote, "Oh please. It’s Hockey. It’s a violent sport. Maybe stay home. Ridiculous."
A reporter for the Chicago Tribune decried the "violent" skit, saying it went against the NHL’s attempts to "promote a family atmosphere."
"I was glad I wasn't in the stands with my 7-year-old son having to explain why his favorite mascot was just apparently beaten with a baseball bat," Chris Kuc wrote.
According to the Tribune, the Wild issued a statement Friday saying, "We apologize to anyone offended by the mascot skit Thursday night. It was certainly not our intention."