OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
4:19 PM – Tuesday, October 10, 2023
The NHL has clarified in an updated memo to players what is permissible when it comes to celebrating themes this season, which included a ban on the use of rainbow-colored stick tape for LGBTQ+ Pride nights.
In the initial memo, the league informed all 32 teams that they cannot wear any “themed” jerseys.
In response to concern from some of the teams, the NHL sent out updated guidelines last week, emphasizing that player uniforms and equipment worn during games, in warm-ups, and in official team practices on the ice cannot align with specific theme nights, such as Pride, Hockey Fights Cancer, or even military appreciation events.
According to the memo, athletes are only permitted to partake in themed celebrations while they are “off the ice.”
The ban on the use of pride tape also comes just a few months after The NHL decided in June to ban themed jerseys for warmups, due to a handful of players who opted out of those warm-ups during Pride night last season.
While announcing the jersey ban, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman claimed that it had become too much of a “distraction.”
“And taking away from the fact that all of our clubs host nights in honor of various groups or causes, and we’d rather they continue to get the appropriate attention they deserve and not be a distraction,” Bettman asserted.
Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov was the first player who opted out of warm-ups when the Flyers team wore rainbow-colored jerseys before their Pride night game in January, citing his Russian Orthodox religion.
Six other players later followed suit for a variety of reasons.
In a statement, the makers of Pride Tape expressed that they were “extremely disappointed” by the NHL’s latest decision to ban the use of its rainbow-colored tape.
“Despite this setback, we are encouraged for what lies ahead based on our recent conversations from every corner of the sport,” they said.
Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly told reporters in Toronto, Canada, that he wished players had the right and freedom to do more and be more involved.
“I’m going to continue to be involved in the community and offer support to those communities and those groups that want that [and] need that,” Rielly maintained.
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