New York Rangers Refrain from Wearing Pride-Themed Jerseys despite Pledge to Do So

The New York Rangers hit the ice rink Friday night for warmups without the Pride-themed gear they had promised to wear leading up to the game.

The team had announced that it would “be showing their support by donning pride-themed warm-up jerseys and tape in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity.” Players wore their “Liberty Head” jerseys in warmups before the game against the Vegas Golden Nights instead, ESPN noted.

NYC Pride reportedly learned later that the Rangers had decided not to use the Pride Night equipment, decrying the showing as “a major disappointment to the LGBTQ+ community in New York and beyond,” ESPN reported.

“We are communicating these concerns with NY Rangers and NHL leadership as we continue to discuss the ways these organizations can work toward inclusion. NYC Pride has a duty to both support our partners and hold them accountable,” the group said in a statement. “We are committed to continuing our relationships with the NY Rangers and the NHL and maintaining substantive dialogue with them about meaningful allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.”

In former years, the rainbow merchandise was sold after the game, with proceeds going to charity.

The Rangers’ Pride Night came over a week after the Philadelphia Flyers held theirs, with players dressed in LGBT swag. Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov boycotted the event because of his Russian Orthodox faith, causing an uproar in the hockey community.

“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” Provorov told reporters after the game. He made no other comments.

Coach John Tortorella defended Provorov’s right to exercise free expression, noting that he was “being true to himself and to his religion.”

Just as the Flyers’ decorated the stadium they competed in for Pride Night, the Rangers also marked the occasion with pride-themed giveaways and rainbow lights at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers also donated money to the Ali Forney Center, an organization that supports LGBT homeless youths, ESPN said.

“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs,” the Rangers said in a statement after the game.

The National Hockey League has become increasingly beholden to left-wing cultural initiatives in recent years. The organization recently hosted a transgender tournament, with critics quickly pointing out the dangers associated with allowing biological males on the ice with women.

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real,” the NHL tweeted.

Earlier this month, the NHL advertised an upcoming Florida conference for “diverse” job-seekers looking to pursue careers in the sport that was available  only to racial minorities and women. After receiving notice from the DeSantis administration, which demanded the “discriminatory provisions” be removed from the promotion, the league opened the event to all applicants.

While the summit was previously exclusive to female, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or disabled registrants, it was revised to “encourage those that historically have not been exposed to hockey.”

More from National Review