NHL will now ban players from marking sticks with rainbow Pride Tape | Here’s why

NHL bans hockey players from using pride tape

Pride jerseys and Pride Tape no more? The support and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the National Hockey League (NHL) may be a thing of the past now. The organization is reportedly going to impose a controversial new rule that will ban professional hockey players from wrapping their hockey sticks with the rainbow-colored marker called the “Pride Tape”. But, why is the NHL disallowing athletes from using Pride Tape?

Why is the NHL banning players from marking their sticks with Pride Tape?

Back in 2016, the NHL collaborated with the company Pride Tape, which manufactures the Pride-themed adhesive marker. This was a result of the NHL’s acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and their stance that “hockey is for everyone”. The NHL has been known to make commemorative seasonal theme nights including Black History Month, Hockey Fights Cancer, Gender Equality, Pride Night, and many more. The Pride Tape came alongside Pride Night, wherein players can also wear Pride-themed jerseys during warm-ups.

However, just this year, numerous players reportedly refused to wear Pride jerseys. With the rosters divided, some teams opted to not feature them entirely, especially during on-ice events. In June, this chain of events forced the NHL to ban the rainbow jersey this year. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that this has become a “distraction” rather than showing the real purpose of the theme nights.

Now, a few months after players were barred from wearing these specialty jerseys during warmups, the league has taken it to a whole new level after the committee decided to discontinue the use of special tapes on the players’ sticks, such as the rainbow-colored Pride Tape. As of this writing, the NHL hasn’t made any comments to the public regarding the matter and the reason why Pride Tapes are now banned.

But, some fans are speculating that this is mainly because some states have already passed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Also, as mentioned, there are several – if not many – professional hockey players who have reportedly rejected the celebration of Pride night and the LGBTQ+ acceptance in the NHL, which could have prompted the officials to make this decision.

The LGBTQ+ community as well as many others reacted to the NHL’s controversial decision

The creator of the Pride Tape, the LGBTQ+ community, NHL stars like Oilers’ Connor McDavid, and an NHL partner called You Can Play have all spoken about their disappointment following the league’s new memo. Pride Tape’s co-founder Jeff McLean released a statement thanking everyone for their support. Meanwhile, the internet especially the LGBTQ+ group expressed their disdain. Shortly after the NHL’s decision went viral, Bettman and the league officials received harsh criticism and extreme backlash. There are even rumors that some players will still wear the Pride Tape despite the new rule imposed by the league.

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