Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Hartman delivers check to Children’s Minnesota

It sounds like a joke: a man-sized furry animal sporting a world-class mullet walks into a hospital carrying a giant check.

But the real joke is how this - a fantastic gift to Children’s Minnesota - all began.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild’s mascot, Nordy, delivered a check for $30,877 to Children’s. It was the final step in turning a bad gesture into a very good one.

"We may not be proud of the gesture that led to this, but the result is pretty remarkable," Rachel Schuldt of the Minnesota Wild Foundation told FOX 9.

"We work for weeks and weeks to come up with a fundraiser like this, and in three days, Ryan Hartman raises $30,000 with not a lot of heavy lifting," Shuldt says. "it’s pretty remarkable, it’s pretty authentic, and a little bit of magic, I think!"

On April 12, Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman came to the defense of Kirill Kaprizov, who’d taken a shot from the Edmonton Oilers’ Evander Kane. Once separated by officials, Hartman shot Kane a frowned-upon one fingered hand gesture, which resulted in the NHL fining Hartman $4,250.

"I’ve been fined a few times in my career and it’s the first time I’ve had a fan base that’s tried to help pay it off for me," Hartman told the media a few days later.

In a reflection of how much Kane is a polarizing player among hockey fans, one Wild fan found Hartman’s Venmo account and donated toward the fine. Allie Cook shared it on social media and more donations poured into Hartman’s Venmo, including from Kane’s ex-wife.

Hartman said his phone was going crazy.

"I get three messages for every one Venmo," said Hartman. "So I had to turn some notifications off!"

The Wild have had a partnership with Children’s Minnesota since the franchise’s early days. 

So when Hartman decided the donations should go to charity, it was the natural choice. Once he made that public, it only spurred more donations from the Wild fan base.

"This whole situation with Ryan Hartman and the Wild and his fans and their fans completely took us by surprise," noted Jenny Soderholm, the President of Children’s Minnesota Foundation.

The money will go to Children’s "urgent needs fund."  

Hartman paid the fine out of his own pocket. His on-ice gesture isn’t one you want kids to be inspired by, but what he did with the reaction is very much appreciated.

"It’s just incredibly inspiring moment about what really matters in life" said Soderholm. "And it’s standing with these little kids who are facing battles that a lot of us can’t even imagine."