Chicago players were supposed to skate in special jerseys before Sunday’s NHL game against Vancouver. The Athletic reports that the decision to skip this part of the team’s Pride Night event came from club management and security personnel, not the hockey players.
Last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an amendment to the law that tightens the ban on the promotion of LGBT+ themes and pedophilia. According to Moscow, the law prohibits the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships”, the topic of gender non-conformity and sex change and pedophilia, and the dissemination of information about them in the media, on the Internet, in advertising, in books or in films. Violations are subject to a heavy fine.
Chicago has only one native Russian on its roster, defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. Kazakhstan-born goalkeeper Anton Chudobin and striker Philipp Kurashev, who represents Switzerland, but whose father is former Russian ice hockey player Konstantin Kurashov, also have ties to Russia.
The New York Rangers, Islanders and Minnesota have previously decided to forgo minority-themed jerseys. Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provorov and San Jose goaltender James Reimer also declined to participate in Pride Night events, citing their religious beliefs.
Every year in February, the NHL launches the “Hockey is for everyone” campaign, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion. How they join the event is left up to the individual clubs by the league.