IOC declares Vetter's goalie mask un-Constitutional
JAN 16, 2014 10:40p ET
In order to form a more perfect union, Jessie Vetter can establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense -- or at least that of Team USA's -- all she wants. She just can't have those words displayed on the back of her helmet while on the ice at Sochi, the International Olympic Committee said in decreeing the Preamble to the United States' Constitution be removed from her goalie mask for the upcoming Winter Games.
The IOC prohibited the helmet, citing Olympic Charter rules that state, in part: "No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment whatsoever worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games ."
In other words, Vetter's patriotism can go suck a puck.
The mask, which was designed by artist Ron Slater of Slater Lettering and Graphics, was originally adorned with the famous "We the People" cursive on the back. Also, the interlocking Olympic rings were painted on the chin of the helmet. Both decorations were disallowed by the IOC because, as Slater explained in an email to InGoal magazine, "No writings of any kind to promote the country is allowed."
Vetter's name was also taken off the back, replaced by her No. 31 and enhanced red, white and blue stars and stripes. She did, at least, get to keep the artwork on the sides of the helmet, which brilliantly portray a bald eagle and a "USA" crest embossed with real 23-carat gold leaf paint. The rendering of the Statue of Liberty on the mask's forehead was permitted to stay, as well.
Vetter got her new and IOC-approved helmet, redone by Slater, last week.
This isn't the first time a U.S. hockey goaltender's self-expression has irked the IOC. At the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, American goalie Ryan Miller had to ditch his tag line "Miller time" and backup Jonathan Quick was asked to cover up the "Support the Troops" phrase on the back of his helmet.
Vetter, 28, a Cottage Grove, Wis., native who played for the Badgers from 2006-09, was on the Team USA squad that took home the silver medal in Vancouver. There, she played in four of the five contests, stopping 68 of 71 shots. American coach Katey Stone has not named a starter for the Sochi Games, but, according to the USA Hockey website, recently said, "[Jessie's] playing some of her best hockey right now."
The Americans play their first game Feb. 8 against Finland. Canada and Switzerland are also in the United States' group