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Another NHL team, three more individual players buck “Pride Night”

It was less than two weeks ago that we published a blog titled, “It only takes one: 3rd NHL team ditches “pride” jerseys.”

Since then, a fourth NHL team and three individual players from two different teams have joined the trend, declining to don various LGBT “pride” attire in accordance with their faith.

The Chicago Blackhawks announced that their players will not be wearing the “pride” themed jerseys during warmups at this weekend’s game, though interestingly citing the safety of their Russian players with regard to Putin’s recent legislation targeting gay propaganda. As The Washington Stand pointed out, this concern for the players’ safety is surely understandable, but does not seem to fully explain the decision for the whole team to opt out:

But let’s be honest: this was more about the Blackhawks protecting themselves than its international players. While the team insisted the decision was made by the front office — not the players — there had to be more locker-room pushback than insiders are letting on. If not, why scrap the jerseys for every skater? Why not just excuse these three?

 Besides the Blackhawks, three individual NHL players have taken their own stand.

Last week, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer was the sole player on his team to decline wearing the pride jersey, and he released the following statement explaining his decision:

“Under the umbrella of the NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community tonight. For all 13 years of my career, I have been a Christian — not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow him. I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.

“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based in the Bible, the highest authority in my life.

 “I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.”

And on March 23, Florida Panthers brothers Eric and Marc Staal similarly did not participate in the pregame warmups featuring pride jerseys. In their own statement, they said:

“After many thoughts, prayers and discussions we have chosen not to wear a pride jersey tonight.

“We carry no judgement on how people choose to live their lives, and believe that all people should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey.

“Having said that, we feel that by us wearing a pride jersey it goes against our Christian beliefs.

“We hope you can respect this statement, we will not be speaking any further on this matter and would like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup.”

There is a movement growing within the NHL, and it doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon.

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