Travis Dermott’s Defiance
In a bold move challenging the National Hockey League’s (NHL) recent ban on the use of Pride Tape, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first player to openly flout the controversial rule.
During a Saturday night game against the Anaheim Ducks, Dermott was spotted with a small strip of Pride Tape on his hockey stick, marking the first instance of a player using the banned tape.
NHL’s Ban on Pride Tape
The ban on Pride Tape is part of a series of anti-LGBTQ+ policies introduced by the NHL, sparking outrage among players and fans.
When the ban was implemented, the league did not specify any consequences for players who defied the rule, leaving the matter open-ended.
Players’ Opposition to the Ban
ban on Pride Tape drew strong opposition from numerous NHL players, who raised concerns about the league’s stance on LGBTQ+ support.
Connor McDavid, a prominent player for the Edmonton Oilers, expressed his hope that the ban would be overturned in the future.
Other players, including Morgan Reilly, Jon Merrill, and Scott Laughton, shared their disapproval of the ban, with some openly defying it.
NHL’s Previous Controversies
The NHL’s decision to ban Pride Tape follows earlier controversies, including the ban on specialty jerseys for events like Pride Night, Military Appreciation Night, and Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
The introduction of such policies has generated heated debates within the league, leading players to question their ability to support causes close to their hearts.
Impact of the Ban
Players, including Zach Hyman, Rasmus Andersson, and Jonathan Huberdeau, expressed their disappointment with the ban, emphasizing the importance of supporting various initiatives individually.
The ban on Pride Tape, which was voluntary and used to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, has raised concerns about player expression and engagement with special causes.
The NHL attempted to clarify its position by sending out an updated memo, stating that the restrictions applied to on-ice activities, while encouraging players to express themselves off the ice.
However, the ban on Pride Tape remains a contentious issue, with some calling it one of the most stifling anti-LGBTQ+ policies in North American professional sports.
Russian Players’ Response
Notably, some Russian players expressed concerns about wearing rainbow jerseys due to fear of retaliation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite this, many Russian players, including Evgeni Malkin, chose to wear the rainbow-colored jerseys.
LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in the NHL
The NHL’s handling of LGBTQ+ inclusivity and the ban on Pride Tape have become significant issues, with the league facing criticism for its approach to supporting diversity and inclusion.
As of now, the NHL remains the only major North American sports league without an openly LGBTQ+ player or coach, highlighting the ongoing challenges in fostering a more inclusive sports environment.