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Meet the artist and hear the meaning behind Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's custom mask

Dakota artist designs mask for Marc-Andre Fleury
Dakota artist designs mask for Marc-Andre Fleury 02:21

ST. PAUL, Minn. — NHL goalies are known for rocking colorful, custom masks.

The man protecting the net for the Wild just got a new one with a special Minnesota connection.

The team collaborated with the Prairie Island Community to have a Dakota artist design a mask for Marc-Andre Fleury.


Of all the protection NHL goalies wear, it's the mask that offers a chance to showcase their personality through colorful, eye-catching designs.

Ahead of the Wild's game on Friday, Fleury received one that helps him better understand the connection his team has to the land where they skate.

"This means so much to our community but also Native people," artist Cole Redhorse Taylor said.

Taylor created the design for the mask. It includes Dakota language.

"Mni sota makoce and that means, quite literally it means land of the cloudy waters or the misty waters," Taylor said.

The design also focuses on flowers and plant life native to Minnesota.

"Dakota people, we are known for our floral designs, which are really distinct and very specific to us as a people," Taylor said.

There are water lilies to represent the state's lakes and rivers and wild rice in honor of the essential food source Native Americans harvest to this day.

"Then it was really, really significant because they're like, 'Yeah, Fleury, you know his nickname is the flower,' so I was like oh like perfect, so it just kind of came together very much so," Taylor said.

"I think it looks great, simple but you can see it well from afar and colorful," Fleury said.

New NHL rules won't allow Fleury to wear the mask during Friday's game, but that doesn't change his appreciation of Taylor's work, nor the opportunity to bring some spotlight to the Native American community.

"To be able to showcase the mask, to showcase the tradition, right? And I guess it's an honor for me to to be able to wear it or have it, yeah," Fleury said.

The mask, as well as a custom jersey, will be auctioned Friday on Native American Heritage Day through the Minnesota Wild Foundation's website. The money raised will benefit the American Indian Family Center.  

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