NHL Notebook: Coyotes defenceman Travis Dermott uses Pride Tape despite NHL’s ban and Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson to appeal suspension
1 month ago
Arizona Coyotes defenceman Travis Dermott quietly defied the NHL’s ban on Pride Tape during Saturday night’s 2-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona.
The 26-year-old took the ice on Saturday, less than a week away from the club’s Pride night on October 30th, wrapping the top of his stick with the recognizable rainbow-coloured tape.
As the event marked Dermott as the first player known to use Pride Tape after the ban, it raised some eyebrows amongst league officials and the NHL.
As noted by The Athletic, when asked if Dermott would receive a fine or discipline for the actions, the NHL responded, “We will review it in due course.”
The iconic Pride Tape has been a part of the NHL landscape for a handful of years to show support and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Back in June, a decision was made by the league’s board of governors, announcing teams would no longer be involved in theme nights, showcasing support for a variety of groups.
Before the 2023-24 season kicked off, the NHL shocked the hockey community even further by banning Pride Tape altogether.
Players around the league began voicing their displeasure with the decision, including the Edmonton Oilers captain and Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid, who recalled the choice was “disappointing to see.”
“I’ve enjoyed all the nights that we’ve celebrated here in Edmonton, whether that’s Pride night or military night or Indigenous night, all the various nights that we’ve had and had a chance to celebrate,” McDavid said.
“It is something I’d like to see put back in place one day? Certainly,” he added, “but that’s not the way it is right now.”
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly noted that the NHL’s decision was based on not wanting to put other players in a tough spot because they don’t choose to participate.
The NHL has not imposed any punishment or fine upon Dermott or the Coyotes organization. Still, in the case, there is a form of repercussions, LGBTQ+ rights supporter and longtime NHL executive Brian Burke has generously offered to cover any fines incurred around the league for violations of the new policy.
This season marks Dermott’s first season as a Coyote after signing with the club over the summer as an unrestricted free agent. He has yet to score a point throughout the season’s first five games but has 18:56 in average ice time.
Before his new start in Arizona, the blueliner has totalled 14 goals and 55 points across 279 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson to appeal suspension
After receiving a four-game suspension for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine, Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson appealed the ruling to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The Flames hope the league will reduce the suspension to three games, allowing Andersson to participate in the Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium on October 29th.
The suspension resulted from an incident in the final seconds of the Flames’ loss to the Blue Jackets on Friday night. As Laine launched a puck across the ice to hit an empty Flames net, Andersson hurled himself at the forward with a raised elbow, initially receiving a major penalty and game misconduct.
A hearing was held with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Saturday to decide on retribution for the defenceman, which resulted in the four-game suspension.
Assuming Andersson and his representation have already informed the NHLPA that he intends to appeal, the process will continue to unfold over the next few days. The defenceman will remain suspended and unavailable to the club during this time, but if the suspension ends before the appeal is completed, he will be eligible to play.
The process will follow: a hearing will be organized and chaired by Bettman, with Andersson’s group, representation from the Flames, and the NHLPA. Both sides will have the opportunity to argue, with Andersson’s camp explicitly looking to reduce or eliminate the suspension.
Recent appeals of the same matter are reportedly completed within five to seven days, and considering Andersson’s suspension is less than six games, there will be no other party to present the case to after Bettman, which makes his decision the outcome.
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