Marin Independent Journal
As others back off, San Jose set to sport Pride-themed jerseys
Although other NHL teams have backed out of such arrangements this season, including one earlier this month, the San Jose Sharks are planning to wear special Pridethemed jerseys in pregame warmups as part of the team's Pride Night celebration Saturday at SAP Center.
The Sharks on Monday detailed charitable plans for the event, including the auction of special player nameplates, sticks with Pride Tape, and warmup jerseys that feature crests and patches designed by a local artist. The Sharks host the New York Islanders that night.
Asked Tuesday if the team has had talks about wearing the jerseys during pregame warmups, Sharks coach David Quinn said those discussions have not yet taken place.
“Obviously, it's a topic that people want to talk about, and I understand that,” Quinn said. “So we
feel good about supporting the community and obviously people have choices to make, and that's what makes America special.”
On March 7, despite an announcement by the team that said players would be wearing special Pridethemed jerseys in warmups, members of the Minnesota Wild wore their normal uniforms prior to their game with the Calgary Flames. Sticks with rainbow tape and Pride-themed pucks were still used during warmups.
On Jan. 27, instead of the Pride Night warmup jerseys the New York Rangers organization said would be worn prior to a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, players instead wore the “Liberty Head” reverse retro jerseys in warmups.
Before that, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, citing his religious beliefs, sat out warmups instead of wearing a Pride-themed jersey before a Jan. 17 game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“I respect everybody's choices,” Provorov said later. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That's all I'm going to say.”
The next day, the NHL released a statement that in part said “Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with league counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
On Nov. 30, Russia's parliament approved a bill that expanded restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. The law bans the spreading of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”
In December, Russian
President Vladimir Putin signed the legislation, which states that violators can face fines up to over $30,000 (USD), per the Associated Press.
The Sharks have three Russian players on their roster right now. Other Russian-born players have worn Pride Night jerseys since Putin signed the law.
Asked if he anticipates all players wearing the Pridethemed warmup jerseys Saturday, Quinn said that with games against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, he had not yet thought about it.
Monday, members of the Sharks' front office scrimmaged against the San Francisco Earthquakes, an LGBTQ+ Adult Hockey Team, at SAP Center. Quinn attended the event and was behind the Earthquakes bench.
The Sharks nameplates and sticks will be auctioned during the Sharks Foundation's June Pride monthly campaign, with partial net proceeds benefiting a local LGBTQIA+ non-profit.