NHL teams won’t wear theme-night jerseys after players’ Pride refusals caused distractions

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NHL teams won’t have special jerseys for pregame warmups during themed nights next season, the result of a handful of players refusing to wear...

Teams will still celebrate Pride and other theme nights, including military appreciation and Hockey Fights Cancer. They’re also expected to still design and produce jerseys to be autographed and sold to raise money, even though players won’t skate around with them on during warmups.

James Reimer, a goaltender for San Jose, and brothers Eric and Marc Staal of Florida, who are Canadian, also cited religious beliefs. Russian players Ilya Lyubushkin of Buffalo, Denis Gurianov of Montreal and Andrei Kuzmenko of Vancouver also opted out of their teams’ Pride night warmups. Bettman, in an interview with Sportsnet following the Board of Governors meeting in New York, said he suggested teams stop having special warmup jerseys because themed nights were being undermined by chatter over certain players declining to participate.

 

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