Apr 16, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson (19) congratulates goaltender Anton Forsberg (31) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports | Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s Bracket Challenge, an online competition for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, bans “gay,” “lesbian” and “transgender” from league names.

However, it allows violent words like “gun,” “war” and “kill.”

That’s what Outsports has discovered after a follower on X pointed us to the programming problem on the back end of the NHL’s playoff competition, which is sponsored by Betway, an online gambling company. For whatever reason, many LGBTQ-specific words, representing actual NHL fans, are barred as “profanity.”

When a user tries to use that name in their league name, they are told “Profanity is prohibited”:

Utterly idiotic, of course. “Gay,” “lesbian” and “transgender” are not profanity.

Does it mean people in the NHL generally think saying “gay” is actually “profanity”? Of course not. Trying to give the NHL the benefit of the doubt, some programmer somewhere probably thought he was doing the right thing not letting potential homophobes use these words.

Or maybe the list of “profanity” was AI-generated. Or the algorithm was developed by some programmer in China. Who knows.

Still, it’s dopey and short-sighted by whoever did it.

Yes, gay, lesbian and transgender people watch the NHL. In fact, Outsports got wind of this from a reader who was looking to create a Bracket Challenge league for trans people.

For whatever reason, the game does allow “queer,” “LGBT” and “LGBTQ” in league names.

The whole thing is reminiscent of an Outsports story from 2005, when we discovered the NFL banned “gay” from its custom jerseys (along with about 1,100 words). This despite having a player with the last name Gay in the league.

At the same time, the NFL allowed names like “Nazi” and “Hitler.”

The league’s online store rectified the obvious mistake when they learned about it. We imagine someone in the NHL will do the same.

Or not. Last year the NHL proved itself to be quite stubborn when it came to conversations about Pride Tape and Pride jerseys on NHL players. While the LGBTQ community celebrated seeing players utilize the rainbow Pride colors, the league banned them.

Ultimately, thanks in large part to pressure from players and, we assume, the players’ union, Gary Bettman and the league front office were forced to cave and allow Pride Tape on players’ sticks for warm-ups. The Pride jerseys are still banned.

Regardless, this is hardly that hill to die on. Like we’ve said over and over, most players, as well as team and league executives, support the LGBTQ community.

Many, if not all, NHL teams had some kind of Pride outreach during at least one game this season. The NHL was also part of a really nice LGBTQ-inclusion event at the All-Star Weekend. There are out NHL employees across the league, even if the NHL is the one league that’s never had a current player come out as gay or bi.

Still, it’s a dopey mistake that I’m kind of surprised somebody didn’t test out better before rolling out. No, the LGBTQ community isn’t marching on the league front office over this one. It’s more of a roll the eyes and wonder, “seriously?”