Conor McDavid isn’t a fan of the NHL’s new policy on themed warm-up jerseys.
The league last week decided that teams would not wear special sleds before next season’s games. This was the result of a small number of players refusing to wear the rainbow Pride jersey for the 2022-23 season, resulting in an unwanted distraction.
McDavid, the face of the NHL and superstar captain of the Edmonton Oilers, said at Monday night’s awards ceremony it was “disappointing.”
“It’s not my decision, but it’s clearly disappointing.”
The league board agreed with Commissioner Gary Bettman’s view that Jersey’s refusal overshadowed the teams’ efforts to host Pride Night.
All 32 teams hosted a Pride or “Hockey Is For Everyone” night in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I can’t speak for every organization,” said McDavid, who won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. “In Edmonton, we know we were one of the first teams to use pride tape.
“We feel strongly that hockey is for everyone, and that includes Pride Night.”
The team will continue to celebrate pride and themed nights such as Military Appreciation and Fighting Hockey. Clubs are also expected to continue designing and producing jerseys signed and sold to raise funds, even if players don’t wear them during warm-ups.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Stephen Stamkos said it was disappointing that so few players made headlines this season for not wearing the Pride jersey.
“Ninety-eight percent or ninety-nine percent of the other players wore the jersey and enjoyed wearing it and weren’t proud — whatever the jersey — be it pride, army night, cancer. Even at night,” said Stamkos, who received the Marc Messier Leadership Award. “A story shouldn’t be about a man who didn’t wear it, one man or two men.
“I understand that’s what gets clicks and gets views, but the word ‘distraction’ is thrown around. I don’t think it had to be a distraction. It might not have mattered while I was concentrating.” It was nice to come out of that night. “
Bettmann defended the league’s and teams’ handling of the situation at NHL All-Star Weekend in February, saying embracing different perspectives is part of being “open, welcoming and inclusive”. rice field.
Seven players have decided not to participate in the warm-up when the team dons the pride jerseys before the game. Some teams chose not to wear them even though they were supposed to have them on their players.
“All the attention has been taken away for good reason,” said King Clancy Award-winning Calgary Flames forward Michael Bucklund. “We were all wearing jerseys and everyone was looking, ‘Who’s not and why isn’t he?'”
“I understand the decision the NHL has made to remove distractions. Teams can still have their own nights – special nights. I think that’s a good thing.”
Russian defender Ivan Provorov, then playing for Philadelphia, became the first person to mention his religion in January.
San Jose goaltender James Reimer and Florida brothers Eric and Mark Stahl, all Canadians, also addressed religious beliefs. Buffalo’s Russian player Ilya Lyubushkin, Montreal’s Dennis Gulianov and Vancouver’s Andrei Kuzmenko were all absent from the team’s pride night warm-up.
Lubuschkin cites anti-gay Kremlin laws, which was also why the Chicago Blackhawks stopped wearing the pride night jersey. The New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild refused to wear the jerseys, even though they had previously advertised they would wear them.
Russian Sergey Bobrovski attended the warm-up on the night the Stahl brothers declined, and several of his compatriots decided not to wear their Pride jerseys.
“It was hard to see some players not do that,” said Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chris Letang, who won the Bill Masterton Award for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. said. “Sometimes I can understand why they didn’t, but to me that doesn’t mean you fully support or don’t.
“It’s just to make our sport accessible to everyone.”
This report by the Canadian Press Agency was first published on June 27, 2023.