Multiple Edmonton Oilers, led by captain Connor McDavid, wear Pride Tape during warmups against Devils

Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, an avid supporter of Pride Tape, wore the stick tape on his stick during warmups Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.
But McDavid wasn’t the only one who did it, as others on the Oilers, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Stuart Skinner and Darnell Nurse, appeared to have the tape on their sticks, too.
McDavid and his teammates become the latest to wear the tape during warm-ups this season, months after the NHL banned, then rescinded, the use of the tape, or any other social cause on their equipment.
The NHL brought forth issues with teams using Pride Tape and specialty jerseys in warmups. Last season, multiple players, including Ivan Provorov, James Reimer, and brothers Eric and Marc Staal, sat out from warmups for their respective teams and had a Pride jersey initiative.
Teams historically would wear different jerseys, often designed by members of local LGBTQ communities, for one game out of the year. The jerseys would often be auctioned off, with proceeds going to local LGBTQ charities.
When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced last June that clubs could no longer wear the specialty jerseys, McDavid was outspoken.
“I certainly can’t speak for every organization, [but] I know in Edmonton, we were one of the first teams to use the Pride Tape,” McDavid told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “I know in Edmonton, in our dressing room, we strongly feel hockey is for everybody and that includes the Pride nights and stuff like that.
“So of course it’s disappointing to see. With that being said, that’s certainly way above my decision. It’s not my call, but it’s disappointing to see.
“Everyone has their beliefs. I can’t speak on those. All I can speak for is myself and us in Edmonton, and I know we strongly support those types of nights.”
The ban had initially just covered the specialty jersey ban, which also negated other nights such as ones where the support of Cancer awareness, or in the Oilers’ case, local Indigenous communities, was then expanded to include Pride Tape. This, however, was withdrawn by the league days after Arizona Coyotes defenceman Travis Dermott quietly wore Pride Tape on his stick during a game’s warmups.
“It’s easy to forget that it’s a battle if it’s not in front of you,” Dermott told The Athletic’s Chris Johnston.
“If you don’t see it every day, if it’s swept under the rug, if it’s just hidden from the naked eye, it’s easy to forget that there’s a group of people that don’t feel like they belong because the majority of people do feel like they belong.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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