NHL player resistance to wearing ‘Pride Night’ jerseys causes many teams to opt out

Blackhawks Pride Night Hockey
The jumbotron is lit up in rainbow lights for a Florida Panthers Pride Night before the NHL hockey game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Panthers, on Feb. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

NHL player resistance to wearing ‘Pride Night’ jerseys causes many teams to opt out

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Several NHL teams are tossing LGBT-themed “Pride Night” warmup jerseys following growing resistance among players.

The Chicago Blackhawks organization is the latest team to announce it will forgo wearing the rainbow jerseys. The team made the decision out of concern for Russian players’ safety due to a Russian law that recently banned all “gay propaganda” and made it illegal for Russians to “praise” LGBT activities and relationships in all mediums.

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The Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers have also scrapped the wearing of rainbow warmup jerseys during their respective Pride nights this season.

San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer drew widespread attention when he recently chose to sit out warmups and not wear the team’s Pride-themed jersey.

Reimer explained he boycotted the warmup skate due to his Christian faith but said he has “no hate in his heart for anyone.”

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov also boycotted his team’s Pride Night pregame skate in January, citing his religious beliefs.

“I respect everybody. I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”

Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke slammed players choosing to opt out of their team’s Pride Night warmup skates.

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“I repeat that I am extremely disappointed,” Burke said. “I wish players would understand that the Pride sweaters are about inclusion and welcoming everybody. A player wearing Pride colors or tape isn’t endorsing a set of values or enlisting in cause! He is saying you are welcome here. And you are, in every single NHL building.”

Teams are continuing to hold other activities in connection with their Pride Night celebrations despite any decisions not to wear the jerseys.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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