NHL Lifts Ban on Rainbow Pride Tape in Support of Social Causes

NHL Lifts Ban on Rainbow Pride Tape in Support of Social Causes

In what marks a significant policy turnaround, the National Hockey League (NHL) has announced the lifting of its ban on rainbow-colored Pride tape, granting players the liberty to use it on the ice this season. This decision comes after intense discussions with the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition.

Embracing Social Causes

The NHL’s statement on Tuesday heralded a new era for player expression on social issues. The league, which previously had stringent rules regarding the use of Pride tape during practice or games, has shifted to a more inclusive stance. Players will now be able to visibly support social causes using stick tape not only in warm-ups but also during actual gameplay.

Controversial Beginnings

The issue of Pride gear became a flashpoint earlier in the year when a group of players chose not to wear rainbow jerseys during Pride month’s warm-ups, sparking widespread debate. The league, despite promoting Pride month on its website and endorsing inclusivity, had initially reacted by eliminating special jerseys for themed nights, a decision which was reiterated in a prior memo.

Focus on the Game

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in a Sportsnet interview in June, stated that the league’s priority was to keep the focus on the game itself, and on themed nights, attention would be directed towards the cause rather than the attire.

Renewed Discussions

The ban on Pride tape faced backlash from LGBTQ advocates, players, and executives, prompting renewed conversations about the restriction. The pivotal moment came when Travis Dermott of the Arizona Coyotes used Pride tape in defiance of the ban during a game, an action that contributed to the subsequent lifting of the ban.

Advocates Celebrate

The decision to rescind the ban has been met with jubilation from the hockey community, particularly from LGBTQ+ advocates. Brian Burke, a prominent hockey executive known for his support of LGBTQ+ inclusion, lauded the move and the collective voice of the community that advocated for change.

Industry Support

Pride Tape’s manufacturers expressed their gratitude on social media, acknowledging everyone who believes in making hockey an inclusive sport. Their sentiment reflected relief and happiness that NHL players can now choose to represent social causes important to them.


The NHL’s decision to rescind the ban on rainbow-colored Pride tape symbolizes a step forward in the sport’s journey towards inclusivity. It allows players to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and other social causes, reflecting the evolving landscape of professional sports where athletes play pivotal roles in societal issues. This policy change is not just about the tape; it’s about the message it conveys — a message of acceptance, diversity, and unity on and off the ice.