ECHL hockey team apologizes after social post sparks controversy; red jerseys were not ‘a political statement’

ECHL hockey team apologizes after social post sparks controversy; red jerseys were not ‘a political statement’


The Cincinnati Cyclones recently came under fire after a video posted to the minor league hockey team’s social media account appeared to reference the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The Cyclones play in the ECHL and are an affiliate of the New York Rangers. In a since-deleted video posted to X, formerly Twitter, Cyclones player Justin Vaive wore the team’s red throwback jersey as he stood on the ice soaked in red light.

The controversial video had the following caption, “We don’t care, we paint the town red (on January 6).” 

Some social media users suggested the caption was related to the lyrics from Doja Cat’s song “Paint The Town Red.”

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The Cincinnati Cyclones and the Toledo Walleye play in an empty arena during a regular-season ECHL game March 11, 2020, at the Huntington Center in Toledo.  (Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Others believed the post was a political statement related to the Capitol riot almost three years ago.

“Paint the town WHAT on WHEN?!?!” said Connor Moore, a social media coordinator for the Chicago Sky.

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As of Wednesday, the video no longer appeared on the Cyclones’ social media platforms. The team also issued a public apology and explained that the post was “in no way a political statement.”

“Last night we shared a video of our red warm-up jerseys with lyrics to a trending song,” the statement said.

“The tweet was meant to hype people up for our Throwback Night, where we will wear the retro inspired jerseys. Our Throwback Night is traditionally held on the first weekend of January. This night and these jerseys are in no way a political statement.”

However, the apology also seemed to prompt angst, with some social media users claiming the ECHL hockey team was giving into “cancel culture.”

“Stop issuing apologies for cancel culture,” someone wrote on X. 

The same social media user added that the initial post was harmless. 

“The Clones posted about wearing red jerseys on Jan 6th…You people that spent time battling this need to get another job. It was harmless,” the post said.

hockey stick

A hockey puck and stick  (iStock)

Moore later clarified that he was joking. 

“(Cyclones) I want you to know I was just making jokes. Trust me, I know the feel,” Moore wrote.

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The Cyclones Throwback Night is scheduled for Jan. 6.

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