I’m truly disappointed by the NHL’s recent actions banning Pride Tape during warm-ups, games and even practices, not only for our community but also for the various charities and causes they supported through special events.
These on-ice efforts allowed players and teams to express their values both on and off the ice, making important conversations accessible to a broader audience. By removing these events, we’re regressing and limiting the interaction and normalcy that pride nights and similar events brought.
As for the NHL’s new ban of on-ice Pride Tape, it’s absolutely absurd.
Players should have the freedom to express their values and beliefs in any way they choose. When I was younger, I had teammates who used special tape – some preferred blue, red, or even tape with cartoons printed on it. This tape held personal significance to them, be it a favorite color or symbol.
Pride Tape exemplifies this ability to share a moment of individual expression, signifying not only what the athlete stands for but also creating an environment of inclusivity where everyone feels comfortable, regardless of who they are.
During college, I proudly displayed a tiny pride flag on the back of my helmet, not only to represent my own identity but also to make others feel at ease around me, no matter who they were.
Inclusivity and personal identity are the reasons I joined the IHL (inclusive hockey league) run by Boston Pride Hockey after finishing college. It’s a place where people can come and be who they truly want to be with out feeling any pressures.
The NHL’s recent actions are deeply disappointing to me, as the rare former college hockey player to come out publicly. The Pride Tape ban poses a disheartening setback.
The NHL had made progress with pride nights in the past, but by banning the individual choice to use Pride Tape during warm-ups and practices, people in the NHL front office have taken a significant step in the wrong direction.
This Pride Tape ban, to put it bluntly as a gay hockey player, hurts.
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