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NHL Reverses Controversial Pride Tape Ban

The NHL has reversed its policy on the use of coloured stick tape to represent causes during games and in practices…

The NHL has reversed its controversial decision to ban Pride Tape and other cause-oriented displays by the players on the ice. The league front office reportedly had been in touch with its Player Inclusion Coalition, which apparently recommended a rescinding of the ban that squashed individual voices of players.

“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,” the NHL confirmed.

The NHL made headlines in June when they announced that teams were no longer allowed to wear “specialty” jerseys during warmups, practices or games during nights that supported causes like Pride or military appreciation. The league further clarified that on-ice player uniforms and gear worn in warmups, official team practices and games could not be altered to reflect “specialty” theme nights. That included the use of Pride tape, a rainbow-coloured stick tape that’s been used in support of the 2SLGBTQI+ community for several seasons. The league claimed that the ban on Pride tape was to prevent teams and players from using it as an “end-around” to violate the new uniform policy.

The Pride tape ban made international news and compelled NHL players, including reigning MVP Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, to openly question the policy.

“I’ve expressed disappointment in not being able to wear the various jersey or the tapes … whether that’s Pride tape or pink tape,” McDavid said. “Is it something that I’d like to see back into place one day? Certainly.”

On Saturday, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first NHL player to use Pride tape on his stick in defiance of the NHL’s ban, wrapping the top of his stick with the tape.

“It’s not like I’m shutting up and going away,” he told PHNX. “I know more questions are going to be coming. We’re just going to be as prepared as we can be to just spread love. That’s the thing. It’s gay pride that we’re talking about, but it could be men’s health. It could be any war. It’s just wanting world peace. Everyone’s got to love each other a little bit more.”

The NHL met with the NHL player inclusion coalition about the Pride Tape issue following the outrage about the ban. Then word began to spread that the NHL would reverse the policy, a change that is being met with positive response from that the policy was going to change changing.

The reversal of the policy was met with a positive response from many fans and advocacy organizations.

“I’m a big believer in freedom of choice. While I might have been disappointed, I didn’t criticize any players for not wearing a [Pride] jersey, because that’s their right to choose. I think it should be a player’s right to use the tape they want to, that’s been sanctioned by the NHL for years. For me, this is a big win for freedom of choice,” said Brock McGillis, a former pro hockey player and a founder of the Alphabet Sports Collective. “That said, we need to get back to a point where we’re focused on informed decision making and recognizing impact.”

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