Play-by-play announcer Doug McLeod apologized Friday after referring to "lynching ropes" while calling a quarterfinal game in the state boys' hockey tournament on Thursday afternoon.

McLeod issued a statement to the Star Tribune, saying he was "mortified."

"As I have occasionally done, I went for a movie reference but, out of context, it sounded totally inappropriate," he wrote, without clarifying which movie he was referring to. "I said it. I own it. I was wrong."

"If you know me and my work, you know that I may be capable of bad humor but never bad intent."

McLeod, the University of Minnesota play-by-play announcer at Fox Sports North, had been invited back to the 75th annual high school hockey championships at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center with a group of fellow broadcasting veterans.

During the second period of the Class 2A quarterfinals game between White Bear Lake and Blaine, McLeod made an off-handed comment shortly after a Blaine goal: "All the White Bear fans get out the lynching ropes."

The statement appeared to go unnoticed by his broadcasting partner, Lou Nanne, according to a 6-second video clip posted on Twitter. But some hockey fans expressed outrage on social media about his choice of words.

McLeod was ultimately pulled off the air.

Tom Hauser, KSTP's chief political reporter, was serving as studio host for tournament coverage and later apologized to viewers.

"Earlier in this broadcast this afternoon, there was an inappropriate comment made," Hauser said on Thursday. "If you were offended by this comment, we sincerely apologize."

The University of Minnesota starts a best-of-three playoff series tonight against Michigan that will be broadcast by FSN Plus.

But according to Brian Deutsch, a university athletics spokesman, the series is being produced by the Big Ten Network, and McLeod was never scheduled to be part of the broadcast team.

Staff writer Megan Ryan contributed to this report.

Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648