Over the summer, the NHL announced that players will no longer wear “specialty” jerseys during warmups.

That means that pride-themed jerseys that support the LGBTQ+ community will no longer be worn. It should be noted that this is the same for all other themed nights, whether it be military appreciation, heritage nights, Hockey Fights Cancer or other causes for support.

However, the NHL sent out a new memo to players that included a ban on pride-themed tape to wear during Pride Nights.

In June, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cited a reason to keep the focus on the ice, as players opting not to wear Pride-themed jerseys had become a “distraction.”


But two of the game’s biggest stars disagree with the NHL’s latest move.

Edmonton Oilers star and defending Hart Trophy (MVP) winner Connor McDavid said that he’s “always enjoyed” the nights in his home building.

“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,” McDavid told reporters on Tuesday. “I can’t speak for everybody else or the league or anything like that, but it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.”

McDavid said he’s “expressed disappointment” for not being able to wear the “specialty jerseys” and wants them back.

“Is it something that I’d like to see put back into place one day? Certainly. But that’s not the way it is right now.”


Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand said players should “support who and what you want to support” and does not think “we need to be used to push political agendas” However, he added that it’s “unfortunate we can’t find common ground.”

“I think where a lot of it comes from is the backlash that the players got in the previous years. It’s just unfortunate. You try to stand up for what’s right, and you get a lot of backlash, one way or another. Right now it just seems like you can’t win. . . .” he said on Wednesday.

“But to be pushed through something you don’t want to do, or to be banned from something you do believe in – there’s got to be a line where we can all have our beliefs and support each other and be OK and not have tension between the sides. It’s just unfortunate that we can’t find common ground right now.” 

Marchand added: “It would be nice with the certain nights we have across the league to support different things and support different people. That’s OK. It’s just tough when you can’t win either way. I understand both sides of it. It’s unfortunate that we can’t get along on some of these topics. But that’s the way it is these days.”

Philadelphia Flyers Defenseman Ivan Provorov brought the issue to light when he refused to wear the team’s Pride-themed jersey during warm-ups in January, citing his Russian Orthodox religion. His jersey became one of the league’s best sellers shortly after his stance. 

Several teams backtracked their originally planned Pride Night spectacles, while other players among several teams opted not to do so, citing both religion and safety concerns.