Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers celebrated his team’s Pride Night last Friday like no other. The forward skated the entire game with Pride Tape wrapped around his stick. Pride Tape is rainbow-colored designed to celebrate LGBT inclusion.
The tape has been used by many NHL players in the past, always in warm-ups. This was the first time Outsports is aware of a player using it the entire game.
In fact, multiple people in hockey Outsports spoke to all thought it was illegal for a player to use the rainbow-colored tape in a game. So did we. But it’s actually totally legal.
NHL Rule 10.1 spells it out clearly:
Adhesive tape of any color may be wrapped around the stick at any place for the purpose of reinforcement or to improve control of the puck.
Given the widely held belief that the tape has to be black, it’s understandable why seemingly no player had use the Pride Tape in a game before.
Yet why Huberdeau skate with the rainbow tape in the game? Huberdeau is not the Panthers’ appointed ambassador to the LGBT community. That would be Aaron Ekblad, who did not use the Pride Tape during the game.
So why did Huberdeau? We reached out to the Panthers, but the team declined to comment. We then asked to speak to Huberdeau directly, but the team did not respond. Given the action was totally legal, it’s hard to understand why the team has gone mum about it.
Whatever the reason, it was a bold move and we salute Huberdeau.
The young winger grew up in Quebec and was drafted by the Panthers third overall in 2011.