ST. LOUIS – Tuesday evening’s Pride Night at Enterprise Center looked a little different, as the St. Louis Blues opted not to wear rainbow-colored warm-up jerseys.
“We are saddened to see it’s not happening this year,” Marty Zuniga, the president of Pride St. Louis, said. Pride St. Louis is a LGBTQIA+ non-profit that has benefitted from past Pride Nights with the Blues.
While the team wore the warm-ups last year, the team decided not to partake in the warm-up jerseys this year. The team still had rainbow warm-up pucks and rainbow stick tape available for players.
At the start of the season, the NHL mandated all teams to wear the warm-up jerseys. The league has now backtracked after a number of teams and players opted out, citing religious reasons and a recent anti-gay law passed in Russia that could punish players when they return home in the off-season.
“I think the league should put a plan together that have teams finding a way to individualize a way to celebrate the best way in their communities,” Zuniga said.
In an interview with Ottawa News on Monday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “This is one issue where players, for a variety of reasons, may not feel comfortable wearing the uniform as a form of endorsement. I think it’s something we’ll have to evaluate this off-season.”
Hearing that had Blues fan Mia Signorino worried about the future of NHL Pride events.
“I think these are reactionary choices by the teams and the league,” she said.
The St. Louis Blues explained in a news release that Tuesday’s Pride Night was organized to “to welcome the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“The St. Louis Blues believe in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages all fans to participate in our great sport,” said Chris Zimmerman, Blues President/CEO Business Operations. “With our Pride Night, alongside our partners from Pride STL and You Can Play Project, we are recognizing our friends in the LGBTQIA+ community and advocating for inclusivity in support of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative. As an organization, we are committed to celebrating and welcoming all individuals as valued members of the Blues family – regardless of how they identify or whom they love.”
Last year’s Pride Night raised $25,000 for Pride St. Louis.