Philadelphia Flyers left winger Scott Laughton plans to take a stance against the NHL.
In a memo the league sent to teams, it said it will no longer permit players to use rainbow Pride tape on their hockey sticks during theme celebrations this season.
Laughton, 29, disagrees with the stance.
“You’ll probably see me with the Pride tape on that night,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s not going to affect the way I go about it. If they want to say something, they can, but it’s not going to make a difference in what I do every night for the Pride community.”
He added that if he has to buy the tape himself, he would.
Brian Burke, a former league and team executive — and a long-time advocate of the LGBTQ+ communities — sharply criticized the league Wednesday, saying it removed support to protect a few who don’t want to answer questions about their choices.
In a statement, Burke said “fans look to teams and the league to show they are welcome, and this directive closes a door that’s been open for the last decade.”
He called it a “surprising and serious setback.”
Former Flyer Ivan Provorov refused to wear the rainbow jersey during their Pride Night warmups last January. He did not participate in warmups, citing religious beliefs. Some players from other teams did likewise.
The NHL in June banned all themed jerseys during warmups, saying players opting out of those situations distracted from the work its teams were doing in communities.
Rasmus Ristolainen’s status for Thursday’s opener in Columbus won’t be determined until that day, Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella said Wednesday. Ristolainen did not take contact at practice Wednesday, and Tortorella continued to say his undisclosed injury was “nothing serious.”
Tortorella added that he didn’t want to create a situation where a player returned for a game and then missed the next three games. “I just don’t want it nagging,” he said.