The NHL Reverses Course Regarding LGBTQ Activism on the Ice

By Joseph D'Hippolito Published on October 25, 2023

Two weeks after banning players from using rainbow-themed “Pride tape” on their sticks, the NHL reversed itself Oct. 24.

“After consultation with the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, Players will now have the option to voluntarily represent social causes with their stick tape throughout the season,” a league statement said.

When the season started, as The Stream reported, the NHL issued two memos with this message:

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).

One “Special Initiative,” as the NHL calls dates honoring groups or causes, is “Pride Night” for LGBTQ fans. Until last season, teams would wear rainbow-themed jerseys during their warmups. But when the Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov refused to wear such a jersey in January because of his Russian Orthodox faith, he triggered a chain reaction in which six other players and four teams followed suit in the ensuing 2 1/2 months, as The Stream reported.

Three players refused because wearing the jerseys would conflict with their Christian faith. Three others, all Russian, refused in light of a Russian law extending a ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to adults. One team, the Chicago Blackhawks, chose not to use the rainbow warmups to protect its Russian players.

Why should any LGBTQ fan feel slighted because a player doesn’t wear a jersey or use tape with a rainbow motif?

As a result, the NHL decided in June to prevent players from wearing any themed jerseys on the ice, though teams could still make and sell them. The ban on “Pride tape” followed this month, as The Stream reported.

So what changed?

The Activist Borg Assimilates

The NHL’s original ban on “Pride tape” wasn’t popular among some players and team officials, who viewed it as interfering with their support for LGBTQ fans. Yet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said players and officials can support whatever causes they choose off the ice.

“It’s unfortunate,” Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said Oct. 10. “But I think as players and as people, we’re going to continue to support those people and those causes that we think need it, or are worthy and very deserving of it. As players, we’re going to continue to be involved, pretty much no matter what the league says. We want to be a part of this community.”

On Oct. 21, the Arizona Coyotes’ Travis Dermott defied the ban and used the rainbow tape in the team’s home opener against the Anaheim Ducks.

“You want to have everyone feel included and that’s something that I have felt passionate about for a long time in my career,” said Dermott, a defenseman who has used the tape since 2021. “It’s not like I just just jumped on this train. It’s something that I’ve felt has been lacking in the hockey community for a while. I feel like we need supporters of a movement like this; to have everyone feel included and really to beat home the idea that hockey is for everyone.”

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Apparently, Dermott made his decision without regard to the consequences others might have to face.

“I don’t want to put my teammates or my coaches or my (general managers) or the equipment managers in any kind of bad light when it’s their job to look out for something like this happening,” he said. “It was definitely something that I did just by myself and was prepared to kind of deal with whatever repercussions the league decides to push towards that. I’m not going to back off and say that this battle is won, but we’re going to find better ways to do it.”

Dermott’s comments not only reflect how pervasive and effective gender-identity propaganda has become. They symbolize the confusion between style and substance that has taken over Western culture.

More importantly, Dermott’s comments epitomize the increasing reliance on blind group loyalty to define personal identity, and the outright fear of disagreement as personally threatening.

Activism Meets Narcissism

Why should any LGBTQ fan feel slighted because a player doesn’t wear a jersey or use tape with a rainbow motif? Does that mean an LGBTQ fan’s money is no good at an arena? Does it mean an LGBTQ athlete shouldn’t consider hockey if that athlete has the talent or interest?

Moreover, is sexuality the only determining factor for individual personality, or even the most important one?

Yet the self-proclaimed gatekeepers of information cooperate with the activists. When Canada’s Sportsnet reported on the NHL’s reversal and on Dermott’s defiance, it turned off comments on both stories. By contrast, when Sportsnet reported on the NHL’s decision to ban themed warmup jerseys, the vast majority of the 509 commentators approved.

One gay Canadian who supported the NHL’s ban has had enough. A man named Jack tweeted:

I am so sick and tired of woke left straights and big corporations virtue signaling and speaking for us actual LGBT. We are not all offended when people have opinions. We all don’t think that you HAVE to support our community. This is a free country.

I am also extremely tired of woke “queers” and their supporters embarrassing us like this.

Knock it off.


Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, the American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a free-lance writer.

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