NHL bans Pride tape in effort to avoid putting players in 'difficult position'

This comes just months after officials banned Pride jerseys from being worn in-game.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
The National Hockey League has announced that effective immediately, players will no longer be allowed to wrap their sticks with rainbow-colored tape before hitting the ice on Pride nights, should their team choose to host one at all.

The move comes just months after officials banned Pride jerseys from being worn by those on the ice or behind the bench following backlash from many who said being obligated to do so violated their personal freedoms and sincerely held beliefs.

According to the Associated Press, the league sent out a memo to teams last week explaining that updates had been made regarding participation in themed nights.

Under the new guidelines, players cannot alter their equipment to show support for various causes, be it Pride, military appreciation, or Hockey Fights Cancer. They can, however, do as they please off the ice.

In response to the news, players such as Toronto Maple Leafs' d-man Morgan Rielly said he would "continue to be involved in the community and offer support to those communities and those groups that want that."

"The only difference this year is we're asking the clubs not to employ use of the players on the ice," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an interview with Sportsnet. "We had some issues last year with players feeling uncomfortable supporting certain causes and we didn't want out players to be put in that situation going forward."

When pressed on why the NHL decided to ban the use of "cause messaging" instead of allowing individuals to decide for themselves, Daly explained that the goal was to ensure none of the players were put in a "difficult position" if they found themselves to be the only ones not partaking in the themed display.

A number of players made the news after refusing to deck themselves out in Pride gear last season, including Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov, who cited his Russian Orthodox faith, the Staal brothers, and James Reimer.
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