Nearly five months ago, the NHL “solved” its Pride Night controversy by banning all pregame promotional jerseys — Pride, camouflage, St. Paddy’s Day, all of them. Now Outsports is reporting that the league has gone a step further by banning rainbow-patterned Pride Tape “during warm-ups, games, or even practices.” A league spokesperson has reportedly confirmed the new policy, although the league hasn’t yet officially commented on the report.
It’s not clear whether the ban would also apply to other message-driven stick tape designs, such as camouflage, stars/stripes, and so on.
The new policy represents a remarkable about-face from just 16 months ago, when the league was so gung-ho about Pride Tape that they invited Pride Tape founder Jeff McLean to write an article on NHL.com. The article begins:
Being invited by our friends at the NHL to join them for the 2019 WorldPride parade was as incredible as you might imagine. But what happened days prior at the NHL headquarters in New York City was the moment that will always stick with me.
We wanted to reciprocate their thoughtful invitation to New York by offering to help our friends at the NHL get their bus ready for the parade. In a brief, quiet moment alone waiting for the freight elevator, I looked out across the sea of office cubicles. The office was empty thanks to their half-day Friday summer perk. Poking above a number of employee pods were random hockey sticks, wrapped in Pride Tape. To this day, it reminds me how our small actions can have a lasting impact, how we can share messages of acceptance without using words.
It’s not clear whether the NHL’s new Pride Tape ban also applies to employees at the league’s offices.