VANCOUVER -- Social media staff at the Vancouver Canucks have deleted a message on Twitter and issued an apology after many complained about a reference to the death of a black American man killed during an arrest earlier this year.

The original tweet was sent out shortly before the Canucks faced off against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday evening.

In the graphic posted by the team's official Twitter account, comparisons were made between the two cities.

The graphic compared Vancouver's culture of sushi restaurants, film, weather and celebrities to those of Minnesota.

It then listed things they had in common such as, "Extremely nice people," "Yet to hoist the cup," and "Justice for George Floyd."

It's the last comment that caused backlash and criticism from local organizers of Vancouver's Freedom March.

"I am utterly appalled that an organization full of adults finds this appropriate," said Nova Stevens.

"It's very upsetting that people think this kind of behaviour is acceptable. Using a dead man's name to promote yourself is the worst kind of human decency because it shows a lack of empathy."

Less than an hour after the original post, a staff member with the Canucks tweeted an apology.

"I'm responsible for that graphic and apologize to everyone I offended," wrote Derek Jory whose bio says he's the writer and social media for the Canucks.

"My intent in including Justice for George Floyd in the middle column was to continue the BlackLivesMatter conversation with a fact we all agree on, but that was not the impact. I was wrong. I'm sorry," Jory added.

Social media expert and host of Get Connected TV Mike Agerbo said he's sure the Canucks organization did not mean to be disrespectful in any way but it is a slippery slope when it comes to messaging with large audiences.

"I always make sure I have additional eyes whatever I may be posting that could be sensitive. You can have friends and colleagues looks over the post to make sure they are relevant and not going to cause any problems," he said.

In a statement issued later on Monday, the team also addressed the tweet.

"Last night a graphic was posted on our Twitter account that included a reference to 'Justice for George Floyd.' It was intended to support the important racial equality conversation, but unfortunately it missed the mark," a spokesperson wrote.

"Our social media writer is very supportive of the social cause and took accountability right away. Last night's tweet unfortunately didn't accomplish its intent and was deleted immediately. We sincerely apologize to everyone that we offended."