By: Trent Leith / October 22, 2023
After last season’s pride jersey fiasco, the NHL chose to ban specialty warm-up jerseys for initiatives and causes, as well as other signs of support for said causes, like Pride Tape. On Saturday’s Arizona Coyotes 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, defenceman Travis Dermott became the first player to break the NHL’s ban on pride tape.
Dermott was seen using pride tape on the shaft of his stick, slightly below his right hand. Dermott had not been previously wearing pride tape this season, deciding to wait until the home opener at Mullet Arena to do so.
Travis Dermott has been an outspoken ally to the 2SLGBTQ+ community his whole career and has been using the tape on his stick with regularity since at least 2021.
“I have some family involved in the LGBTQ community, so I’d like to step forward and in the future take part in supporting them more vigorously,” Dermott told ESPN in 2021.
Pride Tape’s co-founder Dr. Kristopher Wells confirmed to Front Office Sports that Dermott ordered once the league banned the tape in the NHL. “We will happily send Pride Tape to any other NHL player that wants to join Travis and visibly demonstrate their allyship,” Wells told FOS.
Many from around the hockey world shared support for Dermott including Pride Tape themselves, and Executive Director of PWHL, and advocate of 2SLGBTQ+ support in hockey, Brian Burke. “Travis continues to be a courageous leader in LGBTQ+ allyship. I hope other players follow his example.” Burke wrote on Twitter.
Dermott was the first, but likely not the last to disregard the rule. Jon Merrill of the Minnesota Wild told The Athletic that he is open to using the tape regardless of any ban in place. “What is the league going to do?” Merrill said. “Take me off the ice? Give me a penalty? Then you look bad as a league. I don’t know. It’s upsetting. Just disappointing.”
On October 11th, Scott Laughton told reporters similarly when asked about the ban. “You’ll probably see me with the Pride tape on that [Pride] night, anyway,”.
As far as potential punishment to be handed down on Dermott, we will have to wait and see. The NHL told Ian Mendes “We will review it in due course.” The NHLPA has yet to comment on either the Pride Tape ban or Dermott’s violation of said ban.
Dermott and the Arizona Coyotes will host the league’s first Pride Night on October 30th when they face off against the LA Kings.