born in russia nhl defense Ilya Lyubushkin will not participate in the Buffalo Sabers Pride Night warm-up with his team on Monday, citing fears of retaliation for laws in his home country against support for LGBTQ rights.
the sabers issued a statement Monday reaffirming its commitment to the community ahead of Pride Night, but mentioned «general threats to certain players» after news broke that Lyubushkin, who was born in Moscow, would not be participating in Pride events. the night.
«The Buffalo Sabers are proud to continue to support the LGBTQIA+ community as allies by hosting our third annual Pride night game. It is of the utmost importance to us to continue to use our platform to strengthen our organizational goal of making hockey for everyone.» «. the statement said.
OPENLY GAY NHL PROSPECT SHARES ‘DISAPPOINTMENT’ AT LACK OF SUPPORT FOR PRIDE NIGHT
«Consistent with previous years, our team strongly believes that one way to get support is to wear Pride jerseys and wear Pride tape in warm-ups. That being said, we are aware of the general threats to certain players and understand their decision to forgo the risk.» .
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law expanding restrictions on activities deemed to support LGBTQ rights, and violating that law could result in fines or prison terms. According to The Athletic, Lyubushkin travels back to Russia, where his family lives, in the offseason.
Lyubushkin’s teammates discussed their decision ahead of Monday’s match against Montreal Canadians and apparently empathized with his situation.
«I think, I don’t know if we have Russians in this room, but like me, as an American and as a North American, I don’t think I can understand the psychological decisions that he’s going through and some of the psychological burdens that he’s going through are from a different party. in the world,» said forward Kyle Okposo.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
«I don’t think it’s fair to judge him in an apples to apples sense. We support Boosh in this room and want to make sure he feels comfortable and we respect his decisions. I think judging him without trying to understand the full scope of his decision would be unwise. We support it.»
Pride Night in the NHL has been a hotly debated topic in the league after several players and teams decided not to participate.
He Chicago Blackhawks He reportedly did not wear Pride-themed jerseys during warm-ups last week, citing similar concerns for his Russian players. Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers cited his Russian Orthodox religion in January for why he didn’t join his team for Pride Night.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Eric and Marc Staal, veteran NHL brothers who play for the florida panthershe also cited his «Christian beliefs» in a statement last week announcing his decision to forgo wearing Pride-themed jerseys during warm-ups. San Jose Sharks Goalie James Reimer made the same claim when announcing his decision before a game against the New York Islanders.
He new york rangers and Minnesota Wild also decided not to wear the themed jerseys earlier this year.
Lyubushkin, 28, is expected to play on Monday night against Montreal despite missing out on warm-ups.
Associated Press contributed to this report.