The NHL, in conjunction with the NHLPA and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, have agreed to allow players to represent social causes and advocacy through stick tape, the league announced Tuesday.
This marks a reversal of the NHL’s ban on Pride Tape, a small gesture of solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities that players have displayed for several seasons. The league received widespread backlash for its original decision after also outlawing themed jerseys for the 2023-24 season.
"After consultation with the NHLPA and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, players will now have the option to voluntarily represent social causes with their stick tape throughout the season," the league wrote in a brief statement.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton told reporters on Oct. 11 that he still intended to use Pride Tape despite the league’s ban. Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott used Pride Tape during Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“The war’s not over. Definitely not, by any means,” the blueliner told Johnston. “You don’t want to fully back off and zip your mouth up when something like this happens, but you’ve got to find the right game plan to attack it with.
“Where you’re supporting your organization and not making them look bad, and you don’t want to step on the league’s toes and really start a fight with them, but still tell them that I think this stuff’s important.”
The NHL never clarified any punitive action that would have been taken against players who opted to use the tape while the ban was in place. It appears the league has realized that showing solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities can be as simple as allowing players to use the multicoloured tape.