The NHL has lifted its ban on the use of Pride Tape following a player's violation. 2024-04-20 11:16:22

Ultimately, Pride Tape will be allowed to participate in NHL events this season, as the league has eased restrictions on theme nights like Pride Night, the NHL announced on Tuesday.

The decision comes just days after Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first player to violate the ban by using Pride Tape in a game.

Pride Tape was introduced about seven years ago as a way to demonstrate inclusivity and support for LGBTQ+ youth who might otherwise quit playing hockey rather than face homophobia and discrimination.

The brightly colored tape was quickly embraced by NHL players, as the rainbow colors were added to the standard white or black tapes that hockey players typically use on their sticks. However, after slogans like "Hockey Is For Everyone" were supported over the summer, the league abruptly banned the tape.

Player Recently Violated the Ban Pressure against the ban reached a new level in recent days when Dermott wrapped part of his hockey stick with Pride Tape before his team's first game, breaking the ban.

Dermott stated that his actions reflect what he has learned about the toxic impact of LGBTQ+ hatred on people close to him. While his protest was quiet, the player eloquently explained his reasons.

"I've been fortunate enough to have some of these opportunities presented in front of me, to really change my perception of what it means to be a good person; what it means to be a good father, a good role model," he said.

"You really see how it affects people, and it's because of a system that maybe no one is deliberately trying to be malicious towards, but until you really get that firsthand experience, seeing people hurt by it right in front of you, it's hard to take any steps towards it."

The Ban Sparked Controversy and Later Changed The NHL had initially embraced Pride Tape shortly after its creation, then banned it, and now once again welcomes the colorful tape. Players here are seen warming up before a 2022 Pride Night event. Ikin Howard/Getty Images The league's ban on Pride Tape was intended to avoid controversies, as several NHL players made headlines last season for refusing to wear Pride Night-themed shirts, citing religious or other reasons.

But the ban itself sparked controversy, casting a shadow over the start of the 2023-2024 NHL regular season earlier this month. Many players spoke out against it.

Pride Tape's creators thanked those who supported the Stick Up for Pride Tape campaign and noted that on the day the ban was lifted, the Canadian bank Scotiabank distributed 5,000 free rolls of tape nationwide.

Among the prominent critics of the ban was Brian Burke, a former NHL executive who advocated for LGBTQ+ inclusion in professional hockey.

Burke celebrated the news of the ban being lifted, thanked everyone who spoke out against the policy, and thanked Dermott for his "courageous" allyship.

The NHL stated that it lifted the ban after meetings with the NHL Players' Association and members of the NHL Players Inclusion Coalition.

Pride Tape was often seen only during warm-ups and on special Pride Night events. The new rule implies that the tape will be used in games throughout the season.

And, as former women's hockey player and executive director Anya Packer noted, the new policy could have a ripple effect in the NHL.

"This is INCREDIBLY important," Packer said on X, a former Twitter site. "ALL REASONS can now somehow be represented."



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