Connor McDavid: Oilers 'strongly support Pride Night'
The Oilers captain doesn't expect there to be any issues when they celebrate Pride Night.
Amidst the wave of revolt against Pride initiatives in the NHL, the Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers maintain that the message of inclusivity and acceptance still resonates strongly in their dressing room.
McDavid spoke to the media on Friday, reassuring the hockey world that the players will uphold their commitments to the LGBTQIA+ community when they host their Pride Night on Saturday.
"Certainly can't comment on other players and their beliefs and other organizations and what they're up to; I know here in Edmonton we strongly believe hockey is for everyone and strongly support Pride Night," McDavid said. "We're looking forward to it. I think we were the first team to use the Pride Tape in warmups so we're firm believers in the celebration that is Pride Night."
Connor McDavid says he strongly believes hockey is for everyone and is looking forward to pride night. #yeg #oilers pic.twitter.com/KkReaVSC1p
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) March 24, 2023
The Oilers have never worn Pride jerseys before, and have no plans to do so this year. Instead, every Oiler has committed to using Pride Tape in warmups, a tradition the team has upheld dating back to 2016, according to The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman.
The team will also play a video of McDavid and fellow Oilers stars taping their sticks with Pride Tape ahead of puck drop against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.
One of those stars, Zach Hyman, admitted that he would not think twice about showing his support for Pride Night, despite the hesitancy seen around the league this season.
"These people have their own personal beliefs, I just don't agree with them," Hyman said Friday. "If I was in that position, I'd wear [a Pride jersey]. It doesn't go against any of my beliefs; on the contrary, I think it's extremely important to be open and welcoming to that greater community just because they're a minority and they've faced a lot of persecution over the years.
"To show that we care and that we're willing and ready to include them in our game, in our sport, is extremely important to me."