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NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid speaks out against NHL ban of Pride Tape

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Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
In June, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was vocal about his displeasure over the NHL’s decision to remove specialty jerseys from pre-game warmups.
And now, after the NHL’s latest oppressive policy that has invoked a ban on the Edmonton-based Pride Tape from being used, McDavid said he’s hopeful the league reverses its decision.
I’ve expressed disappointment in not being able to wear the various jerseys or the tapes … whether that’s Pride tape or pink tape,” McDavid said Tuesday.
The latest ban at the hands of the NHL stems from instances during the 2022-23 season in which a select few players refused to wear Pride-themed jerseys during warmups. Then-Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov cited religious beliefs when he became the first to refuse to wear one of the jerseys, and following suit were San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer, as well as brothers Eric and Marc Staal, who spent last season with the Florida Panthers.
It resulted in NHL commissioner Gary Bettman calling them a “distraction.” At the time, McDavid said the decision was “disappointing to see” and that in the Oilers dressing room, they “strongly feel hockey is for everybody, and that includes the Pride nights.”
The Oilers were the first team in the NHL to use Pride Tape in 2016, doing so during a skills competition and since they’ve featured the Tape multiple times.
“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 Tuesday.
“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.”
McDavid’s teammate, Zach Hyman, vocalized his support for Pride Tape and support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“We’ll be able to support them individually, but collectively that’s out of the players’ control. Disappointing, but out of our control,” Hyman said,
“It’s out of our hands. I know personally I enjoyed wearing the Pride jersey, the Pride tape, the military jersey, we had Willie O’Ree night, Indigenous night, all those great things that we support.”
In a statement, the team behind Pride Tape called the NHL’s decision to disallow public support of LGBTQ2S+ initiatives disappointing.
“The Pride Tape team is extremely disappointed by the NHL’s decision to eliminate Pride Tape from any league on-ice activities,” the group said.
“The league has used language in recent days that would prohibit the tape from any proximity to NHL hockey. We hope the league — and teams — will again show commitment to this important symbol of combating homophobia.”

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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@oilersnation.com.

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