Swastika used in hockey pregame show being investigated

Ah, the sights during a stirring pregame ceremony on the ice before a hockey game. Laser lights! Fireworks! Nazi-associated iconography that covers center ice!

Um …

The Kontinental Hockey League is investigating a pregame show in Riga, before a Dinamo Riga game against Russian team Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk, in which a Latvian military ensemble appeared to unfurl a large swastika that stretched from blue line to blue line.

From R-Sport:

The show, dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the Latvian Republic, preceded Dinamo Riga’s 4-3 victory over Russian team Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk on Sunday. “We didn’t get any complaints from the security department. ... Nevertheless, the league requested the event’s script to make sure there was no subtext there,” Kontintental Hockey League vice president Vladimir Shalaev told R-Sport on Thursday.

“I’m a Soviet man and my relatives fought and died in the Second World War, so of course any swastika-like image evokes only negative emotions,” [Russian team Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk director] Andrei Belmach told R-Sport. “But it’s beyond our competence to look into what this symbol really means. I can’t say for 100 percent what it means in Latvia.”

Well, the BBC asked Dinamo Riga was it meant. From BBC News:

Dinamo's press secretary Janis Stepitis says it's a traditional Latvian symbol seen in ornaments and the national costume. "It has many names, but this is not a swastika." League officials say they are checking to see if anything "criminal" occurred.

The fire cross or ugunskrusts is a traditional motif from Latvian folklore. It was used as a symbol of its armed forces before the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940.

Well that should clear things up. Although we’re not sure how it impacts “Springtime For Hitler” Night for the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, which is something that doesn’t exist but, hey, neither did Gettysburg Address jerseys until this month.