Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Open Letter to the NHL

Dear NHL,
I tend to be quiet during the season, just happily watching or listening to games and okay cheering or cursing, so quiet is in the eye of the beholder. 
So, I didn't comment on y'all letting a few players mouth off about Pride Nights last year, or teams happening to change planned warm up jerseys the day of the game night so it wasn't as obvious who was refusing to participate in said event. But it sucked. 
Hockey seasons are long and the theme nights are a thing. I know there are players who are from countries where freely acknowledging being LBGTQIA+ is, shall we say, punishable. 
But look, there are also players from countries that have clashed with the US militarily, and I assume they are expected to play along with military nights. I know they are expected to listen to a national anthem and sometimes two, regardless of their country of origin. 
But now, I hear the NHL is not only not doing Pride nights, but forbidding things like rainbow tape? Rainbow tape?
Hockey is not the only sport with a diversity problem, and I am well aware that half assed Pride nights do not make things more inclusive. But this choice is regressive. Hockey cannot claim to be for everyone if players are not allowed to express solidarity or allyship. 
And meanwhile, the Washington Capitals have a Hawaiian shirt night on the schedule, and the NHL has yet* to have a Hawaiian player.
So hockey can celebrate cultures it won't invite in. But apparently players cannot be or express solidarity with LGBTQIA+ folks, and somehow hockey expects to expand the fanbase this way? Because right now, I am thinking hard about my commitment to hockey fandom. 

*Happy to be proven wrong on this.