Coyotes' Travis Dermott details decision to use Pride Tape in spite of NHL ban

Travis Dermott spoke for the first time since Saturday's act of defiance against the NHL's controversial new policy.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott made waves Saturday when he donned Pride Tape on the knob of his stick in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, despite the NHL's "ban" on the product.

The move, which was widely lauded across the hockey world and the LGBTQ+ community, violated the controversial new rule put in place by the NHL prior to the season which prohibited the use of Pride Tape — a popular show of allyship used by players in the past.

Dermott was the first to defy the rule, but likely won't be the last. He's hoping the statement he made last weekend will put more focus squarely on the issue.

“You don’t really want to go against rules that are put in place by your employer, but there’s some people who took some positive things from it,” Dermott told's Craig Morgan.

“That’s kind of what I’m looking to impact.”

He added:

“You want to have everyone feel included and that’s something that I have felt passionate about for a long time in my career. It’s not like I just just jumped on this train. It’s something that I’ve felt has been lacking in the hockey community for a while. I feel like we need supporters of a movement like this; to have everyone feel included and really to beat home the idea that hockey is for everyone.”

Travis Dermott caused quite a stir this weekend. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
Travis Dermott caused quite a stir this weekend. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)

One of the main talking points among fans when the clip of Dermott's Pride Tape-laden twig went viral on Saturday was the fact that Dermott — a "fringe" NHLer on a two-way contract — has more to lose than most by making a statement like this. That notion was not lost on the Coyotes defender when deciding to make the move.

“I won’t lie,” Dermott said, "from the outside, it’s easy to see that I’m putting my career on the line for something."

With some time to reflect on the situation that took the hockey world by storm, there are, as there always will be, some things Dermott would do differently — even if just a little.

"I definitely went through some emotional ups and downs that night, not regretting anything by any means, but I’d love to have maybe done a couple of steps a little different by making sure that everyone was aware of what was going on before I did it," he said.

“I don’t want to put my teammates or my coaches or my GMs or the equipment managers in any kind of bad light when it’s their job to kind of look out for something like this happening. It was definitely something that I did just by myself and was prepared to kind of deal with whatever repercussions the league decides to push towards that. I’m not going to back off and say that this battle is won, but we’re going to find better ways to do it.”

The NHL's decision to ban Pride Tape was built off a previous, head-scratching move to scrap all special warm-up jerseys for any themed nights, including Pride, Military Appreciation, Hockey Fights Cancer and others.

As far as any discipline coming Dermott's way for his act of defiance? The NHL has yet to make a decision on that as of this writing.