Jump to content

The NHL sent an updated memo to teams Thursday clarifying what they can do this season with special initiatives such as Pride Night. A source told ESPN that several teams sought clarity as the first memo was deemed to be confusing and restrictive.

Recommended Posts




The NHL sent an updated memo to all its teams Thursday clarifying a previous memo about what players and teams could do this season as it relates to special initiatives such as Pride Night, a league source told ESPN.

A team source told ESPN earlier this week that several teams throughout the NHL sought clarification while also expressing concern with the league's initial memo which they considered to be restrictive in nature. Late last week, the NHL issued a memo called, "Game and Practice-Related Special Initiatives" about what players and teams are allowed do this season with special initiatives.

The league source said the second memo was sent Thursday because of "confusion" regarding the initial memo. The team source said that the new memo was "much clearer," explaining that these are on-ice restrictions, saying, "players should be encouraged to express themselves off the ice" while noting player participation in club-related messaging is voluntary if permitted.


The initial memo, which was obtained by ESPN, explained what is permissible by the league this season when it comes to how players and teams participate in specialty events such as Black History Night, Hockey Fights Cancer Night, Military Appreciation Night and Pride Night -- the latter being a much-discussed issue the league grappled with during the 2022-23 season.

In late June, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Sportsnet that teams will no longer wear specialty sweaters during warmups because "it's become a distraction." Bettman said teams could still host specialty nights while also stating that teams could still create and sell specialty sweaters for various charities associated with those causes.

"Players who choose to model them can do that," Bettman said. "It's really just the question of what's on the ice."

The team source who spoke to ESPN said the initial memo's language created confusion among teams about what they were allowed to do this season given Bettman's statement that players can choose to model sweaters.


What raised concerns and the need for clarity from more than eight teams, the team source said, was the part of the memo that stated, "Players shall not be put in the position of having to demonstrate (or where they may be appearing to demonstrate) personal support for any Special Initiatives. A factor that may be considered in this regard includes, for example, whether a Player (or Players) is required to be in close proximity to any groups or individuals visibly or otherwise clearly associated with such Special Initiative(s)."

A number of questions were then raised to the league about what players and teams could or could not do under those circumstances. Teams then asked the league about a number of items, from if players can wear T-shirts in support of a special initiative inside the practice facility, to media availabilities and to fundraisers.


There was even a question about whether or not players could even hold the "I Fight For" placards on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The league source said that the NHL was starting to face questions about whether or not coaches could wear poppies on their suit jackets in honor of Remembrance Day or if they could wear green ribbons in honor of the Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash.

The league source also reinforced how the intended purpose of the initial memo was to inform teams that they cannot wear any specialty sweaters during a game, in warmups or at an official team practice. The league source further noted that the only off-ice restriction facing teams is that they can't force players to participate in events regarding those specialty causes given there might be players who fear some sense of retribution or embarrassment for their decision to not participate.


One of the biggest questions facing the NHL as a whole entering this upcoming season was how the league and its teams would handle specialty nights. The discussion around specialty nights became a controversial subject after a handful of players refused to wear Pride jerseys this past season.

Every NHL team held a Pride or Hockey Is For Everyone Night during the 2022-23 season. But there were seven players that decided to not take part in pregame warmups when their teams donned Pride jerseys.

A few teams also decided that they would not have their players wear the specialty sweaters after initially having planned to do so. It eventually led to Bettman saying in late June that "it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warmups because it's become a distraction," a measure that the NHL board of governors agreed with.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anything short of a 40 man orgy involving both teams at center ice in place of the warmup skate before the game and I am withdrawing my support from the NHL.


And nobody better pull a Pierre Turgeon and chicken out and stay on the bench.


Coaches aren't off the hook either.


Edited by Kevin Biestra
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If y'all too chicken to do Pride Night. Don't do any night. Or does politics in sports only matter when it's the LGBTQ+ community? If I see a team doing a special jersey night I am gonna lose my frickin' mind. We can't do half measures and pretend we are about inclusiveness. You're either all in, or all out. I don't care which.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...