(LifeSiteNews) — The National Hockey League (NHL) has come under fire from LGBT groups and corporate media for banning “Pride Tape” used to wrap hockey sticks during official games, warmups, and practices during the 2023-2024 season.
The move by the NHL follows league policy changes earlier this year restricting the use of rainbow-colored Pride jerseys and pregame specialty warmup sweaters after backlash from players who refused to wear the LGBT-promoting apparel.
The change is part of a much larger policy reversal announced in a memo last week affecting what is permissible not only at “Pride Nights” but at “Black History Nights,” “Hockey Fights Cancer Nights,” and “Military Appreciation Nights” as well.
The memo sent to every NHL team stated in part:
“Players shall not be put in the position of having to demonstrate (or where they may be appearing to demonstrate) personal support for any Special Initiatives. A factor that may be considered in this regard includes, for example, whether a Player (or Players) is required to be in close proximity to any groups or individuals visibly or otherwise clearly associated with such Special Initiative(s).”
Outsports, an LGBT-oriented sports site, was enraged by the announcement. It said that the message the NHL is sending is “Hockey is not for everyone” and that the NHL had recently made “disastrous choices marginalizing or outright erasing the LGBTQ community.”
“This is, as far as Outsports is aware, the most stifling, anti-LGBTQ policy any pro sports league in North America has ever issued.”
The radically pro-gay site went further, calling the move “Disgraceful. Despicable. Outrageous. Petty.”
“Can a team have a drag queen, or a gay men’s chorus, sing the National Anthem, with players on the ice?” wondered Outsports co-founder Cy Zeigler. “Can a team now be barred from requiring players be on the ice for the singing of said National Anthem?”
Ziegler also complained that the NHL was one of only two major pro sports leagues in North America to never change their X avatar to a rainbow during 2023’s Pride Month (the other was the NFL).
In addition, Outsports cannot find a single LGBTQ-supportive original tweet from the NHL’s X account during Pride Month.
“Don’t be surprised to see calls for boycotts,” Ziegler warned.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail exclaimed that by banning “Pride Tape” the NHL had made a move “to erase visible support for LGBTQ+ people.”
The British tabloid also lamented, “The NHL remains the last major North American sports league that has not had a current or former player or coach come out as part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Unlike other professional sports, hockey has shown an unusually strong resistance to the woke agenda. According to the Daily Caller, the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, and Minnesota Wild all decided to not host Pride Night games last season.
The most high-profile instance of a player refusing to bow to the LGBT agenda was Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Provorov, who is now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, set off a flurry of anti-Christian commentary in the sports world for citing his Russian Orthodox beliefs as to why he sat out pregame warmups that would’ve required him to wear a rainbow-colored jersey.
Provorov’s coach with the Flyers, John Tortorella, stood by him, as did NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who has been at the helm of the NHL since 1993, making him the longest-serving commissioner in major professional U.S. sports.
The NHL might not have to worry about the hand wringing by radically pro-LGBT media: After taking his very public stand against wearing the rainbow-colored jersey, Provorov’s jersey immediately sold out online.
Doug Mainwaring is a journalist for LifeSiteNews, an author, and a marriage, family and children's rights activist. He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, originated and co-authored amicus briefs for the United States Supreme Court, and has been a guest on numerous TV and radio programs. Doug and his family live in the Washington, DC suburbs.