The NHL continues to draw attention for Pride Night celebrations around the league as teams and players make a decision not to wear the themed uniforms. In the latest example, the New York Rangers elected not to wear pride-themed jerseys or use rainbow stick tape in warmups prior to their game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
The Rangers promoted Pride Night by saying the players would wear pride-themed jerseys and rainbow tape in warmups, but when the time came, the team was in its normal uniforms.
That unexpected change raised some eyebrows, and there were more than a few questions about why the Rangers didn’t follow through with their original plan. On Saturday, the New York Post’s Mollie Walker tweeted out a statement from the team, which did not include an explanation about why the team changed its plans at the last minute.
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night,” the Rangers wrote in their statement. “In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.”
In the past, NHL teams have auctioned off the Pride Night warmup jerseys and donated the money to an LGBTQ+ charity.
The Rangers opting not to wear Pride Night warmup jerseys comes just over a week after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to take warmups on Pride Night. Provorov, citing his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs, said he chose to “stay true” to his religion by not wearing the pride-themed jersey.
Flyers head coach John Tortorella said that Provorov “did nothing wrong” by choosing to sit out of warmups. Tortorella went on to explain that he has softened his stance on player protests and pointed to his change of opinion on players sitting during the national anthem as an example.