While hockey play is known for its physical roughness, some fans are crying foul over a display of support they say crossed the line.
Chicago-based apparel company Cubby Tees recently pulled designs of its "Chicago Stronger" t-shirt after an intense backlash to the slogan critics say is a tasteless parody on the post-Boston Marathon bombing tagline, "Boston Strong."
The company fired back against detractors before removing the shirts from sale altogether on Friday.
In a statement on its website, Cubby Tees called the backlash a "good new-fashoned Twitter-lynching" and said the shirt's design was satire mean to target "the tasteless exploiters in Boston's midst rather than any innocent victims."
The statement continued:
"Anyone who believes that the shirt mocked those injured in the horrible events of Patriots’ Day regrettably missed our point and did not read/process our accompanying commentary; nowhere on the shirt’s face (or within its subtext or motivation) did we take aim at the victims or make light of the incident -- nor would we ever. The design poked fun at the embarrassing self-congratulatory branding of the tragedy, and its inappropriate adoption by SOME BOSTON FANS AS A MINIMIZING SPORTS ANTHEM, not the sad reality of that day’s mayhem."
Earlier during the NHL playoffs, Toronto Maple Leafs sported their own take-off of the slogan with "Toronto Stronger" signs when the two teams faced off, DNAinfo Chicago reports.
The furor over the slogan send-up is the second time this week a Chicago organized has raised the hackles of Boston fans. The Chicago Tribune caught flak for an illustration that appeared to renege on the touching tribune issued in the wake of the devastating bombing.
In the supplemental Wednesday section of the paper, a hand is seen tearing off the Boston logo under the "We Are Chicago Bruins" segment with a legend reading “Yeah, not right now we’re not.” (See the photo)
Cubby Tees said in its statement it had received "threats" from angry critics, though the entry with, "Here’s to a world without violence, to the speedy recovery of all victims, and to a decent hockey series – in that order. Stay strong."