Officials are investigating a report that three high school hockey fans wore Ku Klux Klan-style hoods to a North Dakota state tournament semifinal game.
A college student attending Friday night's game between Davies High of Fargo and Red River High at Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks posted a photo on Twitter of the three fans wearing the pointed white hoods.
I thought, 'Are those KKK hoods?' I couldn't believe it," said Shane Schuster, a 19-year-old who snapped a photo of the Red River fans with his cellphone's camera and then tweeted it. "I was shocked."
The tradition of wearing all white to a hockey game began in Winnipeg when Jets fans wore all white during a 1987 Stanley Cup first-round playoff game against the Calgary Flames. The tradition has spread to high school and college games.
The KKK, or Klan, is an organization that has used terrorist tactics to deny civil rights to people of color in promoting its white supremacy, anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant stands.
High school and tournament organizers were informed of the incident. Schuster said that by the second period, the hoods had been removed.
"After confirming the incident, we notified the administrators at Red River High School, who immediately began their investigation," Mark Rerick, Grand Forks Public Schools athletic director, said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press. "To the best of my knowledge, the students have been identified by the Red River administrators, who are continuing their investigation."
Davies High is named after Ronald Davies, a former federal judge from Fargo whose 1957 rulings helped integrate Central High in Little Rock, Ark., beginning a key period in the civil rights movement.
Red River won the game, 2-0, to advance to the state championship game against Grafton Park River.