The Calgary Roughnecks are backing off their initial ban of the Rush Hulk’s costume for Saturday’s lacrosse game at the Saddledome.
However, they’ll be placing some restrictions on the Saskatchewan superfan.
“We encourage the Hulk to come sit in his seat and be a fan, but we cannot allow him to be a mascot,” Roughnecks vice-president Mike Moore told 650 CKOM Wednesday morning.
The Calgary organization came under fire earlier this week after telling Kelvin Ooms they wouldn’t allow him inside the building if he’s wearing his Rush Hulk costume.
Ooms has organized a Rush Hulk road trip for the second-straight year, with plans to bring four busloads of Saskatchewan fans to Calgary for the game.
Moore said the superfan was allowed into last April’s game because his costume was less extensive — only gloves and a mask.
The VP added the no mascots rule is a longstanding policy at the Saddledome, and is in place for safety and security reasons.
“When you bring a visiting mascot into an opposing team’s building there’s always potential for emotion and other things that could fall out from it,” he said.
He said the initial ban came after Ooms requested a dressing room, ice to cool himself in the bodysuit and to have a handler. Ooms clarified, saying he asked for a cool-down room to store his extra ice vest.
Moore noted Ooms is only allowed if he doesn’t have a handler.
The Rush Hulk spoke to Gormley Wednesday morning and said he’s concerned about the restrictions.
“Am I going to have security standing over me 24/7 like I’m some kind of inmate that’s out on bail?” Ooms asked. “I don’t want to experience a game like that.”
Moore said the Roughnecks will be reaching out to Ooms to make sure they’re on the same page. He added the team has been surprised by the attention generated by the situation.
“It’s our event, our entertainment,” he said. “Bringing in another team’s mascot isn’t something we’re prepared to have happen.”
SUPPORT FOR RUSH HULK
Both the Saskatchewan Rush and fans rallied to support Ooms after the initial decision to bar his costume.
The team said in a Tuesday afternoon release they wanted fans to “make a statement” by being “louder and prouder than ever before.”
One of the Rush’s face painters from Kreative Mum is also being added to the trip, with travel and tickets paid for by Specklebellys Pub, so fans can get their faces painted as the “Mean Green Machine.”
Support for @SkRushHulk continues!
Thank you to @Speckspub for generously buying a spot on the Rush Hulk Road Trip for Kandace, our official facepainter from Kreative Mum!
She'll be doing Hulk facepaints for $5 each. Here is a sample of the amazing work done by Kreative Mum… pic.twitter.com/R823TMIepm
— Sask Rush Fan (@saskrushfans) January 24, 2018
“We love that Hulk,” said Keshia Gamola, owner of Kreative Mum. “So when he was banned we felt we had to do something.”
She said the staff member on the trip is being supplied with as much green paint as possible, and there will be time to paint around 150 fans’ faces. While they typically charge $10 for a face paint at a SaskTel Centre Rush game, they’re offering the service at half-price for the road trip.
“Of course she’s going to ask everybody to make an angry face,” Gamola said.
The Rush play the Roughnecks at the Scotiabank Saddledome at 7 p.m. on Saturday.