Connor McDavid defies NHL rules by wearing Pride Tape during warmups; receives praise on social media

Earlier this year, not long after the Vegas Golden Knights had hoisted the Stanley Cup, the NHL announced that they’re banning all specialty jerseys.

That included Pride jerseys, which led to outrage in some parts of the hockey community. Last year, several players refused to take part in Pride-themed night, even sitting out warm-ups.

Several teams opted out of their Pride-themed nights, which led to the NHL banning all specialty jerseys.

Later in the summer, the NHL sent out a memo stating that their ban extended to Pride Tape as well. Earlier this week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “won” the A—hole of the Year award by Outsports, the world’s leading LGBTQ-sports publication, for his ‘declared war on the LGBTQ community.’

But on Thursday, Connor McDavid, arguably the greatest player in the world, sent a strong message to the NHL and Gary Bettman by defying the policy.

The New Jersey Devils had their annual Pride Night on Thursday, and although McDavid was on the visiting team and had no obligations whatsoever, he still decided to use Pride Tape during the warm-up ahead of the game.

NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 21: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers warms up prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 21, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)

And he wasn’t the only one. Superstars like Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Darnell Nurse also used the tape.

Connor McDavid was praised on social media, with many calling him a leader.

“You want to see a leader? Here’s Connor McDavid, the best player on the planet, wearing pride tape in warm-ups in a game where the OTHER team is having their pride night. That’s a leader,” one post on X that gained a lot of attention and likes said.

Connor McDavid hasn’t spoken about why he decided to wear the Pride Tape on Thursday, but earlier this year, he called the ban ‘disappointing.’

“I certainly can’t speak for every organization,” said McDavid. “I know in Edmonton, we were one of the first teams to use the Pride tape. We strongly feel hockey is for everybody, and that includes Pride nights.”

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