The New York Islanders will not be donning rainbow jerseys in their game against the Vancouver Canucks for the NHL Pride Night on Thursday.
As noted by the New York Post, the Islanders have never worn the rainbow jerseys as part of its organizational policy against specialized warmups. In fact, up to this point, the team has only worn jerseys mandated by the league, namely, Hockey Fights Cancer, Military, and St. Patrick’s Day. That said, the team will not even go as far to wear “rainbow tape in warmups, another common theme in Pride nights throughout the league,” according to the Post.
The team will still be donating to the LGBT Network and New York Gay Hockey Association along with “a series of other initiatives including Pride branding on their advertising boards and on the team’s social and digital platforms.”
NHL Pride Nights became a hot topic of conversation earlier this year when Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to participate in his team’s Pride Night due to his orthodox Christian faith, sparking outrage from leftists who proceeded to accuse him of bigotry and homophobia. However, the Philadelphia Flyers kept him in the lineup, and the team even went on to win the 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.”
#Flyers Ivan Provorov on his Pride Night pregame boycott :
“My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” pic.twitter.com/YSFKvkyEJC
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) January 18, 2023
As Breitbart News reported, the New York Rangers followed the Provorov controversy by hosting its own Pride Night without the aforementioned rainbow jerseys.
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs,” the Rangers said at the time.
At last week’s all-star game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he does not want snafus and disagreements over rainbow jerseys to overshadow the league’s support of the LGBTQ community.
“You know what our goals and our values and our intentions are across the league, whether it’s at the league level or the club level,” Bettman said. “But we also have to respect some individual choice. And some people are more comfortable embracing themselves and causes than others. And part of being diverse and welcoming is understanding those differences.”
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