The Blackhawks and Wild announced Saturday that they have partnered up in an effort to raise funds for injured hockey player Matt Olson, a Minnesota native, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in February while playing junior hockey for the Chicago Cougars when he fell head-first into the boards.
“We are proud to unite with the Minnesota Wild and the hockey community to support Matt and his family during this difficult time," said Blackhawks Executive Vice President Jay Blunk in a statement. "The Blackhawks organization stands with the Olson family and encourages our fans to consider supporting this important cause.”
Both NHL organizations have donated several one-of-a-kind experiences, such as traveling with the Blackhawks or Wild on their respective team plans to a road game, which will be made available for online action through the teams' websites (www.wild.com/Mo3 or www.chicagoblackhawks.com/Mo3) beginning at 12 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 20 and ending on Wednesday, March 30 at 12 p.m. CT.
When the Blackhawks and Wild clash on March 29 in Minnesota, both teams will wear special decals on their helmet to show their support, one of many gestures in a game that will be dedicated to Matt.
The Olson family has also set up a Go Fund Me account for financial contributions. Click here to donate.
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: