NHL Teams Won’t Be Wearing Theme-Night Jerseys Next Season
Next season, NHL teams will not be donning special jerseys for pregame warmups on themed nights. This decision comes as a response to a few players who declined to wear rainbow-colored Pride jerseys during the season that just ended, which led to unwanted disruptions.
Recently, the league’s Board of Governors supported Commissioner Gary Bettman’s agreement that these refusals overshadowed the teams’ efforts in hosting Pride nights, where some jerseys were even auctioned off. In fact, all 32 teams held Pride or Hockey is for Everyone night.
NHL will continue theme nights
Teams will continue to honor and celebrate Pride as well as other theme nights, such as military appreciation and Hockey Fights Cancer. Although players won’t wear the specially designed jerseys during warmups, they are still anticipated to create and produce jerseys that will be autographed and sold to raise funds for a good cause.
After the Board of Governors meeting in New York, Commissioner Bettman expressed in an interview with Sportsnet that he proposed the idea of teams discontinuing the use of special warmup jerseys. His reasoning was that themed nights were losing their impact due to the distracting discussions surrounding players who chose not to participate.
Keeping the focus on the game
“That’s just become more of a distraction from really the essence of what the purpose of these nights are,” Bettman said. “We’re keeping the focus on the game. And on these specialty nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.”
During NHL All-Star Weekend in February, Bettman came to the league and teams’ defense, emphasizing their approach to handling the situations. He stated that being “open, welcoming, and inclusive” meant embracing tolerance for different viewpoints.
“You know what our goals, our values and our intentions are across the league, whether it’s at the league level or at the club level,” Bettman said at the time of the conference. “But we also have to respect some individual choice, and some people are more comfortable embracing themselves in causes than others. And part of being diverse and welcoming is understanding those differences.”