Go woke… go nope?
The NHL’s LGBT “Pride” festivities this month were always going to be especially divisive among hockey’s more conservative-leaning fans, but it’s entered downright awkward territory in the last few weeks.
The latest, and biggest, example of this came when an entire team — not an individual player — opted to forego wearing or using any of the LGBT-themed equipment (rainbow jerseys, rainbow sticks, etc.) meant for teams celebrating LGBT pride.
According to The Associated Press, the Chicago Blackhawks have opted out of wearing LGBT-themed warmup jerseys ahead of its Sunday game against the Vancouver Canucks.
An unnamed source told the AP that the Blackhawks were basing that decision out of an abundance of caution due to three of the team’s players being Russian, not to say anything about the number of Blackhawks players and staff with family, friends and acquaintances connected with Russia.
For the unaware, in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law several ordinances that LGBT advocates are decrying as anti-gay and homophobic.
According to CNN, these laws make “it illegal for anyone to promote same-sex relationships or suggest that non-heterosexual orientations are ‘normal.'”
Obviously, wearing rainbow gear or using gay-themed equipment could clearly run afoul of not promoting gay relationships.
Imagine having family in Moscow and being forced to wear something you’re not even particularly passionate about for work. Then, due to wearing said item, Putin now jails your entire lineage in the gulags.
Chicago defenseman Nikita Zaitsev doesn’t need to imagine that — the man is from Moscow and still has plenty of family there.
Chicago center Philipp Kurashev was born in Davos, Switzerland, but is of Russian descent. Chicago goalie Anton Khudobin is also of Russian descent, though he was born in Kazakhstan.
As noted by the Washington Post, the Blackhawks are just the latest NHL entity to opt out of “Pride” night activity.
Perhaps most famously, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer recently came out and cited his powerful faith as why he could not, in good conscience, wear a “Pride” jersey.
A statement from Goaltender, James Reimer: pic.twitter.com/GwhWxhbmb4
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 18, 2023
Before Reimer, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov also cited his faith as why he couldn’t wear the jersey.
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) January 18, 2023
Curiously, the Blackhawks aren’t even the first team to pass on wearing the jerseys — though they are the only team who has given any sort of reason for it.
WaPo noted that the New York Rangers didn’t sport any of the LGBT equipment in January, despite announcing and scheduling it.
After that, the Minnesota Wild also opted to skip out on the “Pride” festivities, this time in March, despite also announcing it.
Neither team provided a reason why, but it’s very likely that they were following a similar line of thinking as the Blackhawks.
Given Putin’s idiosyncrasies, it’s totally understandable that NHL teams are wary of any potential backlash directed at their players.
But it’s also a stark reminder that America’s obsession with LGBT issues is a distinctly Western infatuation. Much of the real world simply has much bigger issues to be concerned with, and are not interested in pledging fealty to a rainbow flag.
It’s been fascinating watching the NHL learn this harsh reality of life in real time.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.