MONTREAL — Saying thank you has never been so tough for the Montreal Canadiens.
After a souvenir puck tossed to kids at an open practice Sunday hit a baby on the head, the team had to apologize when tweets containing racial slurs ended up on its Twitter feed.
To thank fans for reaching one million Twitter followers Tuesday night, the NHL team encouraged users to reply to a tweet with the hashtag CanadiensMTL1M, and they’d then receive a surprise.
Some responses to the hashtag featured pictures of a customized jersey bearing Twitter handles where a player’s name would normally appear while others contained a thank you video from Habs players.
However, some pictures of the customized jerseys portrayed Twitter handles with racial slurs and other vile comments.
The Habs later posted a message on their feed, saying they apologize for the ``offensive messages'' and they've ``fixed the issue so it won't happen in the future.''
On Wednesday, the club issued another apology and placed blame for the mishap on the company that ran the direct response service for them.
``Unfortunately, due to human error on the part of the third-party provider, the profanity filter was not activated when setting up the campaign and a handful of offensive and inappropriate Twitter handles and tweets were not flagged and properly blocked,'' the team statement said.
``Once the error was discovered, the campaign was immediately suspended and the offensive tweets were manually deleted.''
The company, Flowics, issued an apology to the Canadiens.
``Today, for the first time, we've failed one of our clients: the Montreal Canadiens,'' it said on its website. ``We are really sad about it and we want to extend our apology to them, their fans and anybody who might have been offended by this.''
The company added it ``failed to activate a filter in our product, which takes care of rejecting offensive or abusive content.''
Many of the automated tweets have since been removed.
The Canadiens, who have gone into a tailspin on the ice after a record-setting start to the season, were scrambling when a mother posted on social media that her month-old daughter had suffered the concussion when hit by a puck she said was tossed into the seats by defenceman P.K. Subban.
The girl was released from hospital the following day and was said to be doing well. A team representative met with the family and invited them to watch a future game free from a private box. Subban told the team he also wants to meet the family.
At the annual open practice, which draws full houses of children and parents, all the players acknowledged the crowd by flipping pucks into the seats for the kids