NHL Rescinds Rainbow-Colored Pride Tape Ban

The NHL has lifted its ban on players using stick tape to show support for social causes, including rainbow Pride Tape.

In a recent social media announcement, the NHL issued a statement regarding the use of symbolic tape in support of social causes.

“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.”

Back in June, the NHL had made a decision to disallow team members from wearing themed jerseys during warmups, following a few players opting out of team Pride nights in the previous season. The league’s reasoning was that it was a distraction from the community work teams were involved in.

In early October, the You Can Play project, an advocate for inclusion and diversity in sports, particularly for LGBTQ2 athletes, coaches, and fans, strongly criticized the NHL’s updated guidelines that banned symbols such as Pride Tape.

The Pride Tape team, supported by You Can Play, expressed deep disappointment with the NHL’s decision to exclude Pride Tape from on-ice activities.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, You Can Play commended the NHL for its change of heart.

“The NHL’s policy reconsideration and reinstating the players’ ability to support the LGBTQ+ community in hockey is a win for us all.

“Actively welcoming communities into hockey is imperative to keep the sport strong now and into the future. We appreciate every person, team and organization that made their voice heard to support this change, and appreciate the NHL’s willingness to listen and make the right choice.”

Kristopher Wells, co-founder of Pride Tape, and Ben Scrivens, a former Oilers goaltender, were reading the book “Who’s Hockey” at a school in Edmonton as part of Read-In Week. Both celebrated the NHL’s reversal of its decision, with Wells expressing that today was a great day for hockey and human rights.

Wells acknowledged the NHL for its willingness to listen and change its course, which can be a challenging endeavor.

Over the weekend, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first player to defy the order against using Pride Tape, playing a game with it on his stick.

The Stanley Cup first made an appearance at a Pride parade in 2010 when former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel brought it to the celebration in Chicago. In 2013, the league partnered with the You Can Play Project, and in the 2016-17 season, the NHL added team Pride ambassadors.

Rainbow Pride stick tape was first introduced by the Edmonton Oilers in 2016.

Scrivens emphasized on Tuesday that Pride Tape carries an important visual message.

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