Vancouver Canucks winger Andrei Kuzmenko won’t wear Pride warm up jersey: coach

At least one Canucks player isn’t wearing a themed warm-up jersey when Vancouver hosts its annual Pride Night on Friday.

Coach Rick Tocet said after talking with his family, Russian winger Andrei Kuzmenko has opted not to wear a special kit before his home game against the Calgary Flames.

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The Vancouver Canucks will wear themed warm-up jerseys at their annual Pride Night on Friday.

“I don’t know what the deal is going to be over there, so I’m not going into it. So I respect his decision,” said Tochet.

Kuzmenko, 27, became a fan favorite in his first season in the NHL due to his wide smile and outgoing personality.

He has 37 goals and 31 assists in 73 games, leading the Canucks in goals.

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Several of his teammates have publicly committed to wearing jerseys designed by local artist Christin Hryc. His main crest is a Canax killer whale logo with a rainbow and flowers, and a rainbow patch on his shoulder.

“I think everyone in this room is looking forward to it,” defenseman Quinn Hughes said Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'NHL Faces Controversy Over Pride Night'

NHL Faces Controversy Over Pride Night

“Every time we had a pride night, I would wear the jersey to celebrate the night.”

Star Center’s Elias Petterson said Friday he also supports the annual event.

“I think it’s important to show that everyone is welcome here,” he said. “And I’m wearing a jersey tonight.”

Many other initiatives are planned for Vancouver, including a pre-match drag show and in-match performances outside Rogers Arena on Friday. A donation of $20,000 was also made to QMUNITY, a Vancouver non-profit organization that helps LGBTQ people and their allies.

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Kuzmenko will wear the Pride jersey this season, including Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer, Florida Panthers Eric and Mark Stahl, and Buffalo Sabers blueliner Ilya Lubuschkin. Joined a handful of NHL players who refused to

Whether or not a player wears a themed jersey is a personal right, the NHLPA’s new executive director Marty Walsh said Thursday in Toronto.

“The LGBTQ community should not feel that NHL hockey players are turning their backs on that community. Walsh, who has been adamant, said.

He added that the league is likely to have more discussions on the matter in the future.

“But I think it’s really important, as a league and as a locker room, that we are inclusive and support the rights of all those who support the game.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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