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U.S. netminders told to ditch helmet slogans

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - U.S. netminder Jonathan Quick will be ordered to remove the slogan ‘Support Our Troops’ from his helmet for contravening Olympic rules on political propaganda, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said on Monday.

U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick takes part in his team's ice hockey practice at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 15, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best

Netminder Ryan Miller, Quick’s team mate, has also been told to remove the slogan ‘Miller Time’ from his helmet while the third American netminder Tim Thomas had already placed a sticker over a slogan on his mask during training on Monday.

“We will inform the American team and their equipment managers that this is a violation of IOC rules,” IIHF spokesman Szymon Szemberg told Reuters. “According to IOC rule 51, no political propaganda or advertisements are allowed on equipment.

“It the players don’t agree with the interpretation they can ask the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) to petition the IOC.”

While IOC rules are clear, the IIHF was not so certain whether the slogan on Quick’s helmet was political propaganda or simply offering moral support.

“If we go too hard on that we could be seen as insensitive,” said Szemberg.

USOC said it was meeting with USA Hockey to discuss the problem but had not yet submitted an appeal.

“We need to discuss this further because it could be a matter that involves a lot of countries, the hockey federation and the IOC,” said USOC spokesman Bob Condron.

Several netminders from different teams practicing at Canada Hockey Place on Monday trained wearing masks with names of family members and friends painted on them which is also against IOC rules that state athletes cannot personalize equipment.

Miller said he had agreed to remove ‘Miller Time’, which is also a popular slogan used by a beer company, but might fight to keep ‘Matt Man’, a tribute to a dead friend from being taken off his helmet.

“We were informed today that he (Miller) would have to make changes,” Team USA spokesman Dave Fischer told Reuters. “We will modify the equipment to meet the Olympic regulations.”

Editing by Miles Evans