Report: Blackhawks will not wear Pride warmup sweaters on Sunday
The Blackhawks have other activities planned for Sunday’s Pride Night.
The Chicago Blackhawks will be hosting a Pride Night on Sunday at the United Center but one of the planned activities for the game has reportedly been removed from the list.
According to the article below from Ben Pope of the Sun-Times, the Blackhawks players will not be wearing Pride-themed warmups during the pregame skate.
The Blackhawks still have a number of LGBTQ-related programming events planned for before and during the game against the Canucks.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 22, 2023
Soon after Pope’s tweet, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic added an additional tweet on where the decision came from:
Safety concerns over Russia's anti-LGBTQ "propaganda" law are behind the team decision not to wear the jerseys, sources say.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 22, 2023
I'm told this was an organizational decision, and didn't come from the players.
That law referenced in Lazerus’ tweet was signed into law by Russian president Vladimir Putin in December that made it illegal for anyone in that country to promote same-sex relationships.
If it was an organizational decision, that would contradict what defenseman Connor Murphy discussed in an article at The Athletic just a few weeks ago:
"Hockey is about inclusion, about growing the community and the game."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) March 9, 2023
Connor Murphy was open about his stance about the Blackhawks' upcoming Pride Night in reaction to what's happened with a few other teams. That & more in @MarkLazerus' story. https://t.co/JtforN5NN3
As indicated by the photos above and below in this article, the Blackhawks have worn rainbow-adorned jerseys in pregame warmups on Pride night in the past.
However, the wearing of such jerseys has become a hot-button item throughout the NHL season, with San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer releasing a statement last weekend citing his religious beliefs as the reason why he chose not to wear the uniforms.
A statement from Goaltender, James Reimer: pic.twitter.com/GwhWxhbmb4— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 18, 2023
The issues around this topic started earlier this season when Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov boycotted that team’s Pride Night in January. Provorov, who’s from Russia, also cited his religious beliefs.
Nikita Zaitsev, Philipp Kurashev and Anton Khudobin all have Russian heritage, so the team's security officials made the call. I don't know if there was any pushback from players. I hope there was.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 22, 2023
We’ll have more on this story if there are any official updates.
[UPDATE] We have an official update from the Blackhawks:
Statement from the Blackhawks: pic.twitter.com/jGQqxWlKhA— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 22, 2023