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Blackhawks ban headdresses at home games, events

FILE PHOTO: Mar 18, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Tomas Fleischmann (12) celebrates his goal with teammates after he scores during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Chicago Blackhawks won 4-0. / Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters/Action Images

The Chicago Blackhawks have banned fans from wearing headdresses at home games and team events at the United Center, the club announced Wednesday.

“We have always maintained an expectation that our fans uphold an atmosphere of respect, and after extensive and meaningful conversations with our Native American partners, we have decided to formalize those expectations,” the team said in a statement.

“Moving forward, headdresses will be prohibited for fans entering Blackhawks-sanctioned events or the United Center when Blackhawks home games resume. These symbols are sacred, traditionally reserved for leaders who have earned a place of great respect in their Tribe, and should not be generalized or used as a costume or for everyday wear.”

The Blackhawks (32-30-8) will begin the NHL qualifying round on Saturday when they open a best-of-five series against the Oilers (37-25-9) in Edmonton.

Chicago is scheduled to return to the United Center for home games next season.

The Blackhawks’ announcement comes on the heels of the Washington Football Team electing to retire its “Redskins” nickname. The Blackhawks, however, said earlier this month that they will not change their nickname, claiming that it honors Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation.

In recent years, the franchise has invited Native American groups to games for pregame ovations and in-game performances. A section on the team’s official website is devoted to the “legacy of Black Hawk.”

-Field Level Media