The State of Pride in the NHL

Kyle Denu Avatar

March is the month of Pride in the NHL! While there are a few more teams left to host Pride Night, a majority of teams have completed the event… with controversial results. Over the past weeks, players have began a snowball effect of refusing to wear the Pride warm-up jersey. James Reimer, and Florida’s pair of Staal brothers are at the forefront of this issue. this past week.

Reimer’s Statement via @SanJoseSharks
Report on Eric and Marc Staal via @GeorgeRichards

It’s been a popular topic this month for NHL media. It started this year with Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers. He, and the aforementioned parties above cited religious beliefs as why they wouldn’t wear the event’s special warm-up jerseys. As March rolls on, more and more players have refused to wear their Pride jersey, which is unfortunately what NHL media has decided to focus on. Instead of the events that help raise awareness to the Pride community, the media is focusing on the negative.

A former Calgary Hitman, and someone I have been a fan of for a while now, Luke Prokop made a statement about NHL Pride nights:

Luke Prokop’s Statement via @lukeprokop_6

Almost two years ago, Luke came out as the first openly gay player in Pro-Hockey. He should feel accepted in any locker room he may go into. If hockey is to truly be for everyone, this cannot be acceptable for players to not wear the jersey. Especially for 15 minutes. Especially to bring inclusivity into the game. Instead of helping progress the game, the media is instead back-peddling and focusing on the negative. The San Jose Sharks Twitter Account “provided facts and information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics”, instead of tweeting about regular gameplay. I have seen dozens of articles about who didn’t wear the jersey, and one about what the Sharks Twitter account did to further the game.

San Jose Sharks Pride Night Post via @SanJoseSharks

If you haven’t seen all the information they provided, I definitely recommend that you do. A lot of effort went into collecting that data, good on the Sharks for doing that (even if their starting goaltender didn’t participate in the festivities.)

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