The NHL and several of its teams and players received criticism and praise in response to not wearing LGBTQ-themed jerseys during warmups at their respective Pride Nights.

To avoid any «distractions», NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says themed jerseys will no longer be worn on the ice.

«I suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warm-ups because it has become a distraction and takes away from the fact that all of our clubs, in one way or another, host nights honoring various groups or causes and we prefer that they continue to get the proper care they deserve and not be a distraction,» Bettman said. told SportsNet at the NHL Board of Governors meeting on Thursday.


A stick is glued in the colors of the rainbow during warm-ups in support of the NHL’s «Hockey is for Everyone» initiative during Pride Night before the game against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on March 5, 2020 in Chicago . (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The announcement came in the midst of Pride Month, while the league has been criticized for not welcoming the LGBTQ community at its games, which Bettman called «legitimate concerns.»

«But in the final analysis, all the efforts and emphasis on the importance of these various courses have been undermined by the distraction in terms of which teams, which players, in this way we keep the focus on the game and on these specialties. nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.

Pride Nights, as well as other heritage celebrations, will remain, Bettman says.

A side-by-side photo of Ivan Provorov and the Pride Night jumbotron. (fake images)

«All those nights will continue… The only difference will be that we’re not going to change jerseys for warm-ups because that becomes more of a distraction from, really, the essence of the purpose of these nights.» «

Bettman even said that themed jerseys will be sold and designed and players could even «model» them if they wanted.

«It’s really just a question of what’s on the ice,» Bettman said.

Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers brought the issue to light when he refused to wear the team’s Pride-themed jersey during warmups, citing his Russian Orthodox religion. His jersey became one of the best sellers in the league shortly after his stance.

Rangers Pride Uniform

Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers wears a special jersey during Pride Night warm-ups before the game against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2021 in New York City. (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)


The Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild also refrained from wearing those sweaters despite prior publicity that they would, while other players on various teams chose not to, citing safety and religious reasons.