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Written by: #GoldenKuraly

This Article is mostly the opinion of one author and may not reflect the views and opinions of all Regeneration Sports Network authors and members.

Other hockey sites have taken this story and sensationalized it for clicks. Regeneration Sports Network isn’t going to do that. I’m going to report exactly what was said, interpret it as well as I can, and then I’ll leave you with my opinion on the matter.

On June 22, in an interview with Elliotte Friedman, Gary Bettman announced that pre-game warm up sweaters would no longer be allowed on ice due to the controversy surrounding the “Pride” Sweaters.

“It’s taking away from the fact that all of our clubs, in some form or another, host nights in honor of various groups or causes, and we’d rather them continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction.”

Gary Bettman via Elliotte Friedman Twitter @FriedgeHNIC

7 players opted out d/t various reasons. There are 736 active NHL players currently. That’s 0.95%. I only say this for context. Less than 1% of the players had an issue with it.

Friedman expressed “concern” about the announcement being made during National Pride Month. Bettman agreed that the concern was “legitimate.” During the interview, Bettman never explicitly said that the “Pride-Themed” sweaters were banned, but he said they were the center of the distractions during the season. He also made it explicitly clear that NO specialty pre-game warm up sweaters would be worn by the player, this includes Military and Hockey Fights Cancer.

Bettman also confirmed that Pride Night, Military Appreciation Night, First Responders Night, Indigenous Peoples Night etc. will still happen, and teams will still be designing and distributing sweaters and other fan gear for these foundations. The players just won’t be wearing them on ice before games. Players will be free to model them if they chose.

So all this chatter of “The NHL just banned pride” is BS and click bait.

Now for the opinion portion of the piece.

I know as a CisHet male, my opinion on the matter doesn’t hold much weight but I have family, friends and coworkers who are part of the LGBTQ+ and this topic means a lot to me. I hate that this has had to happen. I hate that 0.95% of the league has caused such a reaction of the media, and fans. I hate that as a result ALL Special Jerseys aren’t going to be displayed pregame on players. But I understand it. I feel that Gary Bettman, made the right choice. Eliminating all warm up sweaters, rather than just allowing individual players to opt out will take the controversy out of it. Could you imagine the uproar if a Russian player opted out of an American Military Appreciation Night? This was definitely the most “PC” route.

The Anti-LGBTQ pounds their chest as a “victory”. This wasn’t a victory, you did nothing. We still have Pride. NHL Organizations will still support the community. The Columbus Blue Jackets actively participated in the Columbus Pride Festival. The Boston Bruins donate and support Boston Pride Hockey.
Fact of the matter is, Hockey is for Everyone. Pride isn’t about “shoving it down your throats”, Pride is saying “We exist, We are human, and we are tired of being treated otherwise.”

Welcome to 2023.


Elliotte Friedman via Twitter

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