NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks Will Not Wear Pride Jerseys, Citing Russian Law Fears

The Chicago Blackhawks organization has decided that the team will not wear Pride warmup jerseys before Sunday’s Pride Night home game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Associated Press reported that the NHL team cited security fears for its several Russian players. They could face legal problems in their native country because of a new law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. The AP said the team discussed the matter within the organization and outside of it.

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The decision by the Blackhawks follows similar calls made by another NHL team and individual players.

Citing his religious beliefs, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer last weekend declined to participate in pregame activities that would require him to wear a Pride-themed jersey. Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov (who is Russian) made a similar decline in January. The New York Rangers also opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January, despite previously advertising that plan.

Meanwhile, Russian-natives Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov did wear Pride-themed jerseys with the rest of their team, the Sharks, on Saturday.

While scrapping the jerseys, the Blackhawks still plan to acknowledge Pride Night.

DJs from the LGBTQ community will play before the game at an intermission, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus also is slated to perform.

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