Minnesota Becomes Third NHL Team to Put Pride Jerseys on Ice
It’s officially a trend. After the New York Rangers and Islanders both dumped their Pride gear for players, a third NHL team is jumping on the bandwagon (or in this case, Zamboni). On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild, who’d planned to have skaters wear the rainbow-themed gear for warm-ups made an “organizational decision” to stick to routine team jerseys — building on a narrative that’s been hard for professional sports to ignore.
The game against the Calgary Flames (which the Wild lost in a shootout) was almost completely overshadowed by the news, which included the last-minute cancelation of the Pride-themed jersey auction. Michael Russo, who covers the NHL for The Athletic, says the decision was such a surprise that the team had to delete its post about the Wild’s annual fundraiser for the LGBT community. “Part of the themed game programming includes custom-designed Wild Pride jersey worn by the team during pre-game warmups,” the site read before the text was retracted. “The custom warmup jerseys will be signed and auctioned off starting March 7.”
Local rumors swirled that some players had threatened to boycott, a contagious movement that started in mid-January with the Philadelphia Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov. The Russian, who bravely stood alone as the target of the Left’s scorn, seems to have sparked a league-wide rebellion of the NHL’s pandering. And other teams might not be far behind.
The Wild released a statement ahead of the Flames game, explaining that the organization “is proud to continue our support of the LGBTQIA+ community by hosting our second annual Pride Night, which we are celebrating in many ways.” Of course, noticeably absent from that “celebrating” was the coercion of players to wear advertisements for a radical ideology that many reject.
As Provorov said, “I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” Every athlete should be free to make that same choice.
Naturally, the Left disagrees, writing bitterly that the Wild’s decision to exempt players from the LGBT circus was “homophobic,” despite the team’s Pride-saturated game graphics, logo, and pledge to continue to host nights “like this to show all players, fans, and the LGBTQIA+ community that hockey is for everyone.” Others called the decision exactly what it was not: “cowardly.” The nerve it took for players to stand against management — and all of woke culture — is a far cry from the gutless decision to cower to the demands of society’s 7%.
Good on the Wild, too, for leaning into the players’ convictions and refusing to single out anyone for their objections. If Provorov’s story is any indication, the media would have painted a bullseye on every dissenter. But instead of throwing players to the wolves and creating a distraction that would have divided the team publicly, the Wild stood together and opted not to alienate fans with similar values.
“I think this story is further evidence that courage is contagious,” Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm told The Washington Stand. “Word got out that your life won’t end if you stay true to what you know is right so more players are doing just that. These players are choosing to live authentically, but this kind of authentic living won’t be celebrated by the Left.”
Minnesota loves to call itself the state of hockey. Let’s hope it represents something bigger today — the state of a sport that’s starting to tolerate all opinions.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.