On the same day Winnipeg was set to host the Chicago Blackhawks, True North Sports and Entertainment — the Manitoba-based company that owns the Jets — released the following statement:
For those concerned, after discussions with Aboriginal leaders in our province TNSE been determined it will no longer allow costume or non-authentic Aboriginal headdresses into MTS Centre for hockey events going forward.
The call to ban fake headdresses came after a Jets season ticket holder filed a complaint with TNSE. Per CBC, the company initially said they wouldn’t stop people from wearing them, instead opting to “make them fully aware of the ramifications of wearing that and the cultural ramifications of it.”
TSNE then reconsidered its stance and, earlier this evening, made the decision to no longer allow the fake headdresses.
“Given the attention the issue is getting today, it’s probably one that we wanted to have a clear understanding of.”
[TSNE director of corporate communications Scott] Brown says the move comes after owner Mark Chipman met with prominent indigenous leaders, including Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and MLA Kevin Chief.
“After gaining probably a better understanding of that significance we have decided that going forward we will no longer be allowing costume and non-authentic headdresses into MTS Centre for hockey events,” he said.
Per Brown, no other NHL arena has a policy “which would ban something like the headdress.”
Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba have a large indigenous demographic. According to the Canadian Census, roughly 13 percent of the population identified itself as Aboriginal.