NHL, Red Wings condemn use of logo at Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally

James O'Brien
NBC Sports

Both the NHL and Detroit Red Wings are addressing the use of an altered Red Wings logo by white nationalists during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va this weekend.

Their responses may include pursuing legal action regarding “the disturbing demonstration.”

(NBC provides more background on the violent and frightening situation, which led to at least two injuries and prompted Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.)

The Red Wings released the following statement regarding the use of their logo and the demonstrations in general:


The Athletic Detroit’s Katie Strang reports that Bill Daly said that the NHL “is offended and outraged” by the display, and again, may pursue legal action. Update: The league backed up Strang’s report with this official statement.

“We are obviously outraged by the irresponsible and improper use of our intellectual property as seen this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. This specific use is directly contrary to the value of inclusiveness that our League prioritizes and champions. We will take immediate and all necessary steps to insure the use is discontinued as promptly as possible, and will vigorously pursue other remedies, as appropriate.”

You can see the altered version of the Red Wings logo on makeshift shields, including in the video below from NBC’s Craig Stanley, who is providing regular video updates from Charlottesville:


Here’s some possible context about the white nationalists:


Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski shares some additional hypotheses about why these groups might be drawn to the winged wheel logo:

Here’s a theory: The winged wheel was a part of the logo for Deutsche Reichsbahn, or DRB, the national German railroad that was used during the Holocaust. You’ll see some of these logos have a passing-at-best resemblance to the Detroit Red Wings logo, but one imagines it’s a bit easier to get a magnetic Red Wings logo for your poster-board Dungeons and Dragons shield than something from 1937 Germany.

Another theory: White supremacists have adopted the name from “Operation Red Wing,” a 2005 incident during the War in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 19 Americans, many of them Navy SEALs.

Either way, the NHL and Red Wings seem to be exploring ways to address this small, strange facet of a very disturbing story from this weekend.


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