1. Home
  2. /
  3. Politics
  4. /
  5. NHL Halts Display of...

NHL Halts Display of Pride-Themed Jerseys During Pregame Warmups

The National Hockey League (NHL) has made the decision to discontinue the use of rainbow-colored, LGBTQ-themed jerseys by teams during pregame warmups for Pride nights.

‘Pride nights’ have been a point of contention

Earlier this year, Pride Nights in the NHL became a point of discussion when Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov declined to participate in his team’s Pride Night.

Provorov cited his orthodox Christian faith as his reason, a decision that drew criticism from left-leaning groups, who accused him of bigotry and homophobia.

Provorov: I will stay ‘true to myself and my religion’

Credit: DepositPhotos

Despite this, Provorov was retained in the lineup by the Philadelphia Flyers, and they eventually won their game against the Anaheim Ducks.

“I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices,” he said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Reimer joins Provorov in standing for what he believes in

James Reimer, the San Jose Sharks goaltender, also chose not to put on a pride-themed warm-up jersey in a recent game, basing his decision on his Christian faith.

“For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian — not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily”.

“I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow him,” he said.

‘No hate in my heart’ for anyone

“I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.

“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” he added.

The NHL Board of Governors, along with Commissioner Gary Bettman, came to a consensus on Thursday that the numerous instances of players refusing to wear Pride jerseys were creating a disruption.

Wearing of pride-themed jerseys ‘a distraction’

Bettman suggested to Sportsnet that teams should cease the use of rainbow warmup jerseys as “themed nights were being undermined by chatter over certain players declining to participate,” as reported by ABC News.

“That’s just become more of a distraction from really the essence of what the purpose of these nights are,” Bettman said.

“We’re keeping the focus on the game. And on these specialty nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.”

Pride Jerseys still to be created for fundraising purposes

The teams will still acknowledge Pride Night and other themed nights somehow, and rainbow Pride jerseys will still be created for sale as a fundraising initiative.

The organization You Can Play, which collaborates with sports leagues on LGBTQ outreach, expressed their disappointment and concern regarding this decision.

“Today’s decision means that the over 95% of players who chose to wear a Pride jersey to support the community will now not get an opportunity to do so,” the organization said.

“The work to make locker rooms, board rooms, and arenas safer, more diverse, and more inclusive needs to be ongoing and purposeful, and we will continue to work with our partners at the NHL, including individual teams, players, agents and the NHLPA to ensure this critical work continues,” they continued.