In a significant victory for LGBTQ+ inclusion in professional hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL) recently revoked its ban on the use of rainbow-colored, Pride-themed tape on hockey sticks during games. The decision came after a strong backlash from players and fans who saw the ban as discriminatory. Notably, Jesse Pollock, a forward for the Jerusalem Capitals’ BarDown team, took to TikTok to display his hockey stick adorned with rainbow tape, making a powerful statement in favor of diversity and inclusion within the sport.
In a heartfelt TikTok video, Pollock expressed his commitment to using Pride tape for the remainder of the BarDown season, emphasizing that hockey should be an inclusive sport for everyone. The video quickly garnered support, with thousands of likes and numerous comments praising Pollock for his stand. The overwhelming positive response demonstrated that many within the hockey community share the belief that exclusionary rules have no place in the sport.
The NHL’s ban on Pride tape was part of a broader policy that also restricted themed jerseys, including those celebrating Pride, Black History, and Hockey Fights Cancer. The league justified these restrictions by labeling such “speciality” jerseys as distractions. However, this move faced resistance from several players and teams, with some refusing to wear Pride Night jerseys during the previous season. Pollock’s TikTok video joined a growing chorus of players pushing back against these rules, showcasing a united front in advocating for a more inclusive and accepting hockey environment.
Jesse Pollock’s actions, along with the defiance shown by other players like Travis Dermott and creative expressions like the Buffalo Sabres’ skit, underscore the importance of challenging discriminatory policies within sports. As the NHL lifts its ban on Pride tape, it marks a significant step towards fostering a more diverse and inclusive hockey culture, where athletes can openly express their identity without fear of reprisal. The victory resonates beyond the rink, sending a powerful message of solidarity and progress for the LGBTQ+ community in the world of professional sports.