Jets’ Hutchinson honours superfan on new 2017-18 mask

Michael Hutchinson watches a shot come toward him during a game against the Los Angeles Kings. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Michael Hutchinson is using the creation of his 2017-18 mask as an opportunity to pay respects to one of the Winnipeg Jets organization’s most beloved figures.

The 27-year-old netminder unveiled his new lid on Saturday, revealing two sizeable sections dedicated to superfan Leonard Kropioski, affectionately known as Kroppy by the Jets faithful.

Kropioski, a World War II veteran, passed away at the age of 98 prior to the 2016-17 campaign, after decades of supporting local sport in Winnipeg.

The beloved fan’s ties to the NHL go back further than the Jets’ return to Winnipeg, however. In 2007, Kropioski was named honorary coach of an NHL Legends team featuring the likes of Dale Hawerchuk and Bryan Trottier – in town for a game against a local team to pay tribute to the Kenora Thistles – according to a 2014 profile on Kropioski from Maclean’s.

Hutchinson’s new mask, created by Montreal’s David Leroux, features a young Kroppy in uniform as well as a portrait of him later in life.

While plenty of slick lids have been revealed thus far this summer, Hutchinson’s might just be the most admirable of the bunch.