The Minnesota Wild hosted its second annual Pride Night on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames, but players had noticeably ditched the Pride-themed jerseys normally worn during warmups in what was reportedly an “organizational decision.”
After previously advertising that the players would wear rainbow-colored jerseys in warmups that would be signed and auctioned off in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, players on the ice were only seen using rainbow-colored tape on their sticks and themed pucks before the game.
According to The Athletic, it was an “organizational decision” but a statement from the team before puck drop offered little clarity on the call.
“The Minnesota Wild organization is proud to continue our support for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual) community by hosting our second annual pride night tonight which we are celebrating in many ways. It is important to host nights like this to show all players, fans, and the LGBTQIA+ community that hockey is for everyone.”
According to the report, mention of the auction was also seemingly scrubbed from the team’s website.
Wild players previously wore Pride-themed jerseys during Pride Night in 2022.
Fans did get a glimpse of what the jersey would have looked like before the start of the first period when Jack Jablonski, a fixed figure in Minnesota hockey who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing in high school and is also openly gay, was shown on the Jumbotron wearing it.
The Wild players’ decision not to wear the themed jerseys follows a number of teams and players who have recently opted not to participate in the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.
Earlier this year, defenseman Ivan Provorov decided to skip out on the Philadelphia Flyers pregame warmups, when players wore Pride-them jerseys, citing his religious beliefs.
The NHL issued a statement at the time seemingly backing Provorov’s decision, while adding that it will “continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
“Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with League counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
In January, the New York Rangers did the same with the entire team opting not to wear the jerseys in warmups.
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs,” the Rangers told Fox News Digital in a statement.