Waseca high school hockey players will honor a local police officer shot in the line of duty — a tribute that likely won't run afoul of state high school league regulations.
Last week, the girls' and boys' hockey teams planned to honor officer Arik Matson by wearing game jerseys emblazoned with "Waseca Police" and the officer's badge number on the front and his name on the back. But their plans had to be scrapped after the Minnesota State High School League informed them that the jerseys didn't meet league regulations.
Determined to honor the officer, the teams will add a regulation-sized patch with Matson's badge number — 222 — to the front of their gameday jerseys.
"These kids want to support this officer, who was their DARE officer. He's a respected and much-loved member of their community," said Chris Bonvino, whose company, Gemini Athletic Wear, made the jerseys and patches.
Meanwhile, Bonvino has sold more than 100 jerseys and sweatshirts that are similar to the original tribute jersey he made for the hockey teams. About $5,000 in proceeds will be donated to the Matson family at the girls' hockey game on Friday.
The southeastern community has rallied in support of the 32-year-old police officer who was shot in the head earlier this month while responding to a call of a suspicious man roaming in a homeowner's backyard.
Matson, who is in the intensive care unit at North Memorial Health Hospital, underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fractures in his skull and face. He'll be dealing with some pain and swelling but otherwise the surgery went well, according to a CaringBridge page his family maintains.