MSHSL uniform rules bar Waseca hockey team from wearing jerseys honoring Officer Matson

The Waseca High School hockey team wears special jersey honoring Officer Airk Matson, who was shot in the head while responding to a call earlier this month.

Waseca High School hockey players will not be able to wear special Waseca Police jerseys with Officer Arik Matson’s name on them at their games as they had planned because it does not meet the Minnesota State High School League’s policies, the team said Thursday. 

The Waseca Blue Jays hockey team said in a tweet the league notified them that the special jerseys do not comply with its rules for special recognitions, commemorative or memorial patches on hockey uniforms.

In a statement, MSHSL said its rules limit the size of alterations to commemorate individuals or events. According to the rule, commemorative or memorial patches cannot exceed 4 square inches. 

The team’s coach said the boys’ team will continue to wear the jerseys for warmups. The girls’ team wore theirs for the national anthem at their game Thursday night. 
The league said it is communicating with school administration to identify "ways in which appropriate recognition can be demonstrated." 

Officer Matson was gravely injured when he was shot in the head while responding to a report of a suspicious person in the backyard of a home on Jan. 6. Police officers then shot the suspect, now identified as 37-year-old Tyler Janowsky. 

In an update posted to Matson’s CaringBridge site on Wednesday, his family said he is still in the intensive care unit, but has been able to breathe on his own, sit up and nod his head. 

Officer Arik Matson was injured in a shooting Monday in Waseca, Minnesota. (Abbey Hullopeter)

MSHSL FULL STATEMENT 

The Minnesota State High School League and Waseca Public Schools deeply appreciate the involvement of the Waseca community, its boys and girls hockey programs and other athletic programs in honoring and supporting Officer Matson and the Waseca Police Department. The MSHSL and Waseca High School administration have been in communication this past week in identifying ways in which appropriate recognition can be demonstrated. This includes following the National Federation of High Schools uniform rules and policies which limits the size of alterations to commemorate individuals or events within competition. 

Waseca also appreciates the support and creativity of Gemini Athletic in supplying commemorative jerseys for this important endeavor. The MSHSL will continue to work with all member schools and support them in ways to honor and commemorate individuals in their communities.