Home News NHL Discontinues Themed Warmup Jerseys in the Wake of 2022-23 Pride Night Controversies

NHL Discontinues Themed Warmup Jerseys in the Wake of 2022-23 Pride Night Controversies

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From the 2023-24 season onward, NHL teams will abandon the practice of donning themed jerseys during warmups on special event nights. This announcement was made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, after the conclusion of the league’s Board of Governors meeting.

The NHL’s decision was sparked by issues that arose during the previous season regarding how Pride nights were managed by different teams. Some players declined to put on the warmup jerseys, and multiple teams decided not to wear an LGBTQ-themed warmup jersey at all.

In a post-meeting conversation with Sportsnet, Bettman discussed the resolution. According to him, the contentious issue surrounding jerseys was becoming an unwarranted “distraction,” and that terminating this practice would direct more attention to the themed nights themselves.

“In truth, I’ve proposed that clubs should not alter their warmup jerseys as it’s evolved into a distraction that detracts from the reality that all our teams, to varying degrees, host nights to honor diverse groups or causes,” Bettman stated. “We prefer these events to continue receiving the proper attention they merit without causing any diversion.”

While Bettman conceded that the jerseys could make the LGBTQ community and their supporters feel more included, he restated his belief that the jerseys were creating an unnecessary disturbance. The decision was made during Pride month.

“Despite legitimate concerns, the focus and efforts placed on these essential causes have been marred by the controversy over which teams and players opt to wear these jerseys,” Bettman explained. “This way, we can maintain our attention on the game. During these special nights, our focus will remain on the cause.”

Bettman assured that Pride nights and all themed nights will continue to be a part of NHL’s tradition. The only modification will be that players will refrain from changing into themed jerseys during warmups.

“Definitely, all of our 32 clubs conducted Pride nights. Some also celebrate Heritage nights,” Bettman said. “Every team participates in Hockey Fights Cancer. Some conduct military nights. All these nights will carry on. The only difference will be that we won’t change jerseys for warmups as it has been detracting from the core purpose of these events.”

The dialogue about NHL Pride nights began when Ivan Provorov, a defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers at that time, decided not to wear the team’s warmup jersey due to religious reasons. This set a precedent for the rest of the season as Eric Staal, Marc Staal, and James Reimer also chose not to participate in Pride Night warmups for the same reason.

A few NHL teams opted not to wear unique warmup jerseys at all due to recent anti-gay laws in Russia that might have endangered Russian players who were seen endorsing pro-LGBTQ causes. Despite having Russian players on their rosters, teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks chose to proceed with Pride Night warmup jerseys.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NHL Themed Warmup Jerseys

When will the NHL stop using themed warmup jerseys?

The NHL will cease the use of themed warmup jerseys starting from the 2023-24 season.

Why has the NHL decided to eliminate themed warmup jerseys?

The NHL’s decision comes after a series of controversies during the Pride Nights of the 2022-23 season, where some players and teams chose not to wear LGBTQ-themed warmup jerseys. The debate over these jerseys was deemed a “distraction” by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Will the NHL still host themed nights?

Yes, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has confirmed that all themed nights, including Pride nights, Heritage nights, and Hockey Fights Cancer events, will continue. The only change is that players will not wear special jerseys during warmups.

What started the controversy surrounding Pride Nights in the NHL?

The controversy began when Ivan Provorov, then a Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, chose not to wear the team’s warmup jersey on Pride Night for religious reasons. This led other players like Eric Staal, Marc Staal, and James Reimer, and several teams to do the same throughout the season.

Were any teams impacted by new anti-gay laws in Russia?

Yes, some NHL teams chose not to wear special warmup jerseys due to new anti-gay laws in Russia that could potentially put their Russian players at risk for endorsing pro-LGBTQ causes. However, teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks proceeded with Pride Night warmup jerseys despite having Russian players.

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PrideWarrior June 23, 2023 - 4:05 pm

not happy bout this! I thought the jerseys were a great way for NHL to show their support for LGBTQ community

GoalKeeper2023 June 23, 2023 - 9:04 pm

Bettman’s got a point…maybe it’ll make ppl focus more on the cause, instead of what jerseys players are wearing!

HockeyFan1986 June 23, 2023 - 9:24 pm

well, this is interesting. Kinda liked those themed jerseys though…

SlapShotChamp June 24, 2023 - 9:21 am

its all abt the game anyway, not the warmup jerseys. good call NHL!

IceColdSkater June 24, 2023 - 2:58 pm

No more themed jerseys, huh? not cool, NHL, not cool at all…


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