The National Hockey League (NHL) has moved to end the use of “Pride” tape on sticks after ending the use of gay-themed warm-up jerseys last season, according to reports.
In June of last year, the league ended the use of pride-themed jerseys during “Gay Pride” games, with Commissioner Gary Bettman condemning the jerseys as a “distraction.”
The league allows the teams to promulgate pride games if they so choose, but the special recognition on the ice is slowly being eliminated.
Some players and teams, though, had persisted in using the tape with phrases supporting the gay agenda even after the jersey ban. But going forward, the tape has also been banned.
“Pride Tape will not be used on the ice this year in the NHL,” Pride Tape media relations representative Jeff McLean told the New York Post this week.
In a letter to the teams, the league reiterated that teams may hold any specialty night they like and added that players are “encouraged to express themselves off the ice.” But all displays of themed tapes, uniforms, shirts, equipment, or jerseys will no longer be allowed on the ice, ESPN reported.
The Pride celebrations became a sticking point last year when a growing number of players and teams decided to eschew the gay-themed tapes and jerseys.
Last year, before the ban, three teams had opted out of wearing the gay pride jerseys. First, the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to wear them during the team’s gay pride night out of fear that their three Russian-born players may be put in jeopardy due to the new anti-gay law that was enacted in Russia at the time. Previous to that, the Minnesota Wild also opted out of wearing the jersey. And in Jan., the New York Rangers opted out of wearing the gay pride jersey.
Three individual players also took a stance on the gay pride jersey. San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer opted out of wearing the jersey, citing his religious convictions.
In January, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov also decided not to wear his team’s pride jersey for similar reasons. Buffalo Sabres player Ilya Lyubushkin also decided not to wear the jersey, but he cited the law in Russia for his action.