The Blackhawks will not wear their Pride jerseys on Sunday
Hawks will not wear Pride jerseys on Sunday originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks will not wear the rainbow Pride jerseys during warmups on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks, the team says. Sunday's contest against the Canucks is their scheduled Pride Night.
While the Hawks will not participate in wearing the jerseys, they will still have gay pride festivities.
The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and DJ Zel, a member of the LGBTQ community, will perform during the intermissions. The Chicago Gay Hockey Association will compete on the ice during an intermission. A "Glam-boni” will headline various decorations.
In the atrium, before the game, other LGTBQ performers and small businesses will be featured.
The decision not to participate in wearing the jerseys is out of safety for Russian players on the team, according to Ben Pope of the Sun-Times. A new Russian law banning "gay propaganda" prompted the idea of not wearing the jerseys.
The Russian law, enacted in December, makes it illegal for Russians to "praise" LGBTQ relationships, according to CNN. It applies to all mediums.
The Blackhawks have at least three Russian players on their roster including Russian defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, Swiss forward Philipp Kurashev and Kazakh goaltender Anton Khudobin.
“The Chicago Blackhawks organization is proud to continue its annual Pride Night celebration, an evening – alongside year-round efforts – fueled by partnership and LGBTQIA+ community engagement," the Blackhawks said in a statement. "Together, our activities will focus on fostering conversation and more equitable spaces in our pursuit to make hockey more inclusive. We do not condone anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric, and we stand firmly with the community.
"While we know gameday celebrations like these are an important way we can use our platform to bring visibility, it is the work we do together 365 days a year that can create true impact in ensuring all of our colleagues, fans and communities feel welcomed and safe within our sport.”
The Blackhawks are not alone in not wearing the jerseys this season. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov – who cited the Russian law against LGBTQ relationships – did not wear a Pride jersey in January. The Rangers, Islanders and Wild have also decided not to wear the sweaters.
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