Created: January 24, 2020 10:52 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- High school hockey players in Waseca will not be able to wear special game jerseys honoring officer Arik Matson and the Waseca Police Department.
Matson was gravely wounded in the line of duty earlier this month.
The latest showing of support to follow the incident has come from the Waseca Boys Hockey Team, who are donning special jerseys in his honor.
“I thought they were amazing that somebody would donate such a jersey like that to this cause. I thought it was really cool that us hockey team, we could support that and rally around a cause like that in our community,” said co-captain of the Waseca Boys Hockey Team Ben Priebe.
“I think it’s pretty cool – rally around a good cause, support local officers,” said co-captain of the Waseca Boys Hockey Team Marcus Priebe.
To the team’s disappointment, now those special uniforms won’t get to see any game time.
On Thursday, the hockey team sent out a tweet that said the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) had notified them that the jerseys do not meet their policy for special recognitions.
“Gemini Athletic Wear reached out to us asking if we would be interested in wearing some jerseys that they had already kind of mocked up for us. We passed it forward to the MSHSL, were awaiting word, but it felt like kind of a rush thing. We’ve only got a couple home games left on the season, so the production began,” explained Waseca Boys Head Hockey Coach Chris Storey.
According to the league, they found an issue with the extent of the alterations to the uniform.
In a joint statement to ABC 6 with Waseca Public Schools they said, “The Minnesota State High School League and Waseca Public Schools deeply appreciate the involvement of the Waseca community, its boys and girls hockey programs and other athletic programs in honoring and supporting Officer Matson and the Waseca Police Department. The MSHSL and Waseca High School administration have been in communication this past week in identifying ways in which appropriate recognition can be demonstrated. This includes following the National Federation of High Schools uniform rules and policies which limits the size of alterations to commemorate individuals or events within competition. Waseca also appreciates the support and creativity of Gemini Athletic in supplying commemorative jerseys for this important endeavor. The MSHSL will continue to work with all member schools and support them in ways to honor and commemorate individuals in their communities.”
“I understand, rules are rules, you can’t make an acceptation. I think really it’s drawn more attention to the cause and that’s what we want. We want to raise awareness for the police department and all first responders and I think actually it’s been a good thing,” said Ben Priebe.
“You have to take a step back and think about what the real reason is why we’re doing it. It’s not really as much about wearing them for a game as it is supporting law enforcement and helping this family out,” Storey said.
The special jerseys will still hit the ice. The Waseca Boys Hockey Team is able to wear them during their warm ups.
At the end of the season, the team plans to auction off the jerseys and donate the money to officer Matson’s family.
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