NHL Caves to Activists, Reverses ‘Pride Tape’ Ban

NHL Pride Night
Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

The National Hockey League has performed an abrupt 180 on its policy banning gay pride tape on sticks during warmups after several left-wing players complained and one player outright violated the ban.

The league had banned gay pride jerseys and other special recognitions and, a bit later, told teams that it would not allow the use of the rainbow-colored tape on sticks on the ice. The league ruled that the rainbow tape is, therefore, banned.

But on Saturday, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott defied the ban and used the tape anyway.

Now, the NHL has put its tail between its legs and reversed the ban on tape, according to ESPN.

“After consultation with the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, players will now have the option to voluntarily represent social causes with their stick tape throughout the season,” the league said in a Tuesday statement, two days after saying Dermott’s defiance was under review.

In June, Commissioner Gary Bettman said that LGBTQ-themed jerseys had become “a distraction from really the essence of what the purpose of these nights are.” And that was the basis to move forward on the bans.

However, several players voiced their opposition to the tape ban.

“Whether that’s Pride Night or Military Night or Indigenous Night, all the various nights that we’ve had and had a chance to celebrate. I’ve always enjoyed them,” said Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid. “I can’t speak for everybody else or the league or anything like that, but it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.”

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers awaits a faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on February 19, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.

Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers awaits a faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on February 19, 2023, in Denver, Colorado. (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand also expressed disappointment in the ban. He insisted that players should not be used to “push political agendas” but still supported being used as a pawn to push the left’s radical gay political agenda with “pride” jerseys and tape.

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