Before this season started, the NHL announced a new rule, banning players from using Pride Tape on sticks. Earlier this summer, the league announced a forbid against team wearing ”specialty” jerseys during warmups, such as Pride Jerseys that’s been worn during special themed nights earlier seasons.
Last season, several players refused to take part in warmups during those nights, often citing to religious beliefs.
But last week, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first player to defy the rule, by donning Pride Tape on the knob of his stick. The move from Dermott had fans talking, with many praising him for supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and sticking up to his beliefs despite the NHL’s ban.
Travis Dermott still hasn’t heard anything about a potential punishment from rocking the Pride Tape, but now, for the first time since his actions, he speaks up about why he decided to go against the ban.
“You don’t really want to go against rules that are put in place by your employer, but there’s some people who took some positive things from it,” Dermott told gopnhx.com. “That’s kind of what I’m looking to impact.
“You want to have everyone feel included and that’s something that I have felt passionate about for a long time in my career. It’s not like I just just jumped on this train. It’s something that I’ve felt has been lacking in the hockey community for a while. I feel like we need supporters of a movement like this; to have everyone feel included and really to beat home the idea that hockey is for everyone.”
Travis Dermott has been praised even more because of his status in the league. He earns league minimun and only played eleven NHL games last season. He’s not as protected by his team like, for instance, Connor McDavid would be if he defied the rules. The Arizona Coyotes has his back in all of this, but it was still a massive statement from him.
“I won’t lie,” said Dermott. “From the outside, it’s easy to see that I’m putting my career on the line for something. I definitely went through some emotional ups and downs that night, not regretting anything by any means, but I’d love to have maybe done a couple of steps a little different by making sure that everyone was aware of what was going on before I did it.”
Dermott said, without getting into specifics, this is ”personal for him,” and that it has impact on people close to him.
“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t shed tears about this on multiple occasions,” he said. “So yeah, it’s something I’m definitely very passionate about.