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NHL ends 'pride tape' ban after Arizona Coyotes player uses it in season opener

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott violated NHL guidelines at the team's home opener Saturday night by wrapping his stick with “pride tape” — a rainbow-colored tape that’s used in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Dermott told Craig Morgan, a senior writer for PHNX Sports, that he had no regrets about defying the rule and was prepared to face whatever punishment the league handed down.

“You want to have everyone feel included and that’s something that I have felt passionate about for a long time in my career,” he told Morgan. “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.”

Listen to Mark Brodie interview Shayna Goldman about the Coyotes' Pride Night game on The Show


Hot-button issue in hockey

Dermott has publicly supported the LGBTQ-plus community in the past, saying he has “some family” involved in it.

The NHL banned the use of pride tape this year as part of broader guidance restricting the use of special uniforms and gear for various theme nights, like pride night.

Pride nights became a hot-button issue in hockey after six players chose not to participate in pregame warmups last season when their team wore rainbow-themed jerseys.

Rather than punish Dermott, the NHL announced it has rescinded the ban on pride tape.

The league, players' union and a committee on inclusion agreed to give players the option to represent social causes with stick tape during warmups, practices and games.

Ban on specialty jerseys, uniforms stands

The You Can Play Project, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ participation in sports and has partnered with the NHL for a decade, called the reversal “a win for us all.”

“Actively welcoming communities into hockey is imperative to keep the sport strong now and into the future,” You Can Play said in a statement. “We appreciate every person, team and organization that made their voice heard to support this change and appreciate the NHL’s willingness to listen and make the right choice.”

The ban on specialty jerseys and other uniform changes still stands; teams this season are not allowed to wear any kind of theme jerseys, including military appreciation and Hockey Fights Cancer, for warmups.

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.