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Stanley Cup shade: Avs star Nazem Kadri wears ‘Too Many Men’ shirt to Cup celebration

Kadri, who scored the Game 4-winning goal in overtime, leaned into the complaints from the Lightning faithful of an alleged missed call.
Avalanche Parade Hockey
Posted at 1:47 PM, Jun 30, 2022

DENVER — Avs center Nazem Kadri threw some shade so strong they could’ve felt it 1,500 miles away on a 92-degree afternoon in Tampa.

Kadri, who scored the game-winning overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, notched another W with three simple words scrawled across the chest of his T-shirt at the Avs’ downtown victory celebration: “Too many men.”

The shirt, designed by local artist Adrienne Ruth, is complete with a sketch of Kadri’s Avs teammates celebrating in the away whites – an image that will live on with the Avs’ third Stanley Cup win.

Lightning fans – and a particularly salty head coach Jon Cooper – complained of a missed call of too many men on the ice after that Kadri goal that put their team in a bleak 3-1 hole.

As Kadri jetted toward the Lightning net en route to the Game 4 winner, the Avalanche were mid-line change and briefly had a sixth man on the ice. And while that’s quite common during NHL line changes – the Lightning actually had seven men on the ice during the same personnel switch – the Lightning thought it should have negated the winning goal – “we should still be playing,” Cooper said in his postgame interviews.

The too-many-men complaint resurfaced again in Game 6, when a sixth man overlapped with Gabriel Landeskog hobbling off the ice after losing a skate blade.

Fast forward a series clinching win and four celebratory days in Denver, and Kadri was poking fun at the frustration in Tampa. He had commissioned the work of Adrienne Ruth – a graphic designer and longtime Avs fan – to design the shirt just in time for the victory celebration.

Avalanche Parade Hockey
Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri hoists the Stanley Cup at a rally for the NHL hockey champions Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

For Ruth, seeing Kadri hoist the Stanley Cup wearing the shirt she designed was a whirlwind of emotion.

"I want to be happy. I want to cry. I have no where the range of emotion is right now," she said in a video interview with Denver7 in the hours after the downtown celebration. "I mean, it's super cool. It's something special that this player chose you to do that, like validating your artwork, you know, reaching out to you to design it."

"He commissioned me and, like, he wanted me to do it to get it done for him to have for this occasion, which is something I don't think I'll probably ever wrap my head around."

She said making art around the Avs has always been a passion project for her. And over time, Kadri and his wife, Ashley, have taken notice. They've purchased items from Ruth's Etsy shop in the past.

Ruth, a Colorado native who has spent time in the Middle East as part of a military family, said she felt a special connection to Kadri over racist, hateful messages he's received dating back to last year's playoffs and that continued during the 2022 Stanley Cup run.

She played a part in the "Stand With Naz" movement after he became the target of online hate during the Avs' playoff series against St. Louis.

"I think that was kind of the thing that really solidified the connection between me and the Kadris, was just showing that I can use my voice to show that this is unacceptable," she said. "And I can promise you that there's thousands of Avs fans and hockey fans who agree with me and I can showcase that to you."

Her latest work has gone viral. She was flooded with inquiries about the shirt and was working on making it available for purchase.

"I 100% thought this was going to just kind of blow up locally and be kind of a thing that within Denver people got kind of crazy about," she said. "But to see how far it's reached... things are a little wild right now."

She has since put the shirt up for sale with 50% of the proceeds going to the Kadri Foundation.

Stanley Cup arrives to downtown Denver