ST. PAUL, Minn. — Enjoying the best season of his NHL career, Ryan Hartman sure has plenty of support in Minnesota.
The Wild center was fined $4,250 by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct in the game Tuesday night against Edmonton, stemming from a fight with Oilers left wing Evander Kane. After the scrap was over and the two were separated, Hartman made a profane gesture with his middle finger toward Kane as they continued to yell at each other on their way off the ice.
Anticipating the financial punishment after the game, Hartman said it would be “well worth it.”
More than he could have expected, actually, in light of an outpouring of donations from Wild fans desiring to back him up.
Hartman’s Venmo account was quickly shared on social media after the NHL announced the fine Wednesday, and the light-hearted and mostly modest contributions began to pour in. Kane’s ex-wife also chipped in, The Athletic reported.
Hartman, speaking to reporters in Dallas on Thursday before the Wild played the Stars, said he began to realize what was happening when he noticed the sheer volume of notifications connected to his Venmo account.
“I’ve been fined a few times in my career, and it’s the first time I’ve had a fan base try to help pay it off for me,” Hartman said. “As a team, we’ve stuck together and defended each other all year, and the fans are a part of that, so it was pretty cool to see the fans get behind us like that.”
Hartman announced on Twitter that the money sent to his Venmo account until Friday night would be packaged as a donation to Children’s Minnesota, the pediatric healthcare system that has a hospital a couple of blocks away from the Wild’s arena.