HomeSportsMinnesota Wild Players Opt Out of Wearing Pride-themed Jerseys During Pregame

Minnesota Wild Players Opt Out of Wearing Pride-themed Jerseys During Pregame

by Nick Geddes
Minnesota Wild
(Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild declined to wear their rainbow-colored jerseys during warmups ahead of the team’s annual Pride Night home tilt against the Calgary Flames Tuesday.

Per Michael Russo of The Athletic, the decision to ditch the jerseys was an “organizational decision.”

“The Minnesota Wild organization is proud to continue our support for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual) community by hosting our second annual pride night tonight which we are celebrating in many ways,” the Wild said in a statement. “It is important to host nights like this to show all players, fans, and the LGBTQIA+ community that hockey is for everyone.”

The Wild previously advertised that the jerseys would be signed and auctioned off in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, per Fox News. Mention of the auction has been subsequently scrubbed from the team’s website. The Wild wore the jerseys last season as part of the NHL‘s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.

Minnesota Wild Become Latest Team to Ditch Pride Night Jerseys

In January, the New York Rangers became the first team to opt not to wear the jerseys during pregame warmups.

“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community,” the Rangers said in a statement at the time. “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.”

Just over a week prior, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not take part in the pregame skate after he refused to wear his team’s Pride Night warmup jersey.

Speaking with reporters after the Flyers’ 5-2 home victory over the Anaheim Ducks, Provorov cited his religion. He identified his religion as Russian Orthodox.

“I respect everybody and respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” Provorov said.

The organization released a statement on Provorov declining to take part in the Pride Night festivities.

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement read. “Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations. We were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”