Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

At Core, Pride Jersey About Inclusion



Credit: Houyee Chow

Check out my “Sharks Pregame Live” hit!

Sheng Peng: It’s sad that whether or not to wear a Pride jersey is a big deal.

Let’s rewind if you haven’t been following this story.

For years, NHL teams have been wearing Pride jerseys – and granted, not every team – but teams, including the San Jose Sharks, have been wearing Pride jerseys in warm-ups for their Pride or Hockey Is For Everyone nights for a while. There’s been no major issue raised with it.

But in January, Ivan Provorov declined to wear a Pride jersey, citing his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs. Then, the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, who had previously announced they were wearing Pride jerseys, backed out last minute.

The Wild claimed they were protecting their Russian players – they have one, star Kirill Kaprizov, from reprisal on the players and/or their families from Russia’s anti-gay laws.

That law states it’s “illegal to spread ‘propaganda’ about ‘nontraditional sexual relations’.”

So let’s bring it to this Saturday, and the Sharks Pride Night. The San Jose Sharks announced that players would be wearing Pride jerseys, but so far, they’ve declined to say if every player will wear one. My belief is they’re allowing the players to choose.

In my mind, you have to have a really good reason to choose not wear a jersey that says, hey, everyone is welcome in hockey – and, everyone is human, gay, trans, whatever. That’s the core of the Pride hockey jersey, right?

Sports inclusion organization You Can Play put it well: “It’s a simple sign of respect that goes a long way to promote a sense of belonging for those needing to see it.”

So two things to close: First, I do hope to see every Sharks player in a Pride jersey, and if not, they should say it’s because they’re worried about Russian laws or why they’d be against including everybody in hockey.

Second, the San Jose Sharks didn’t renege on wearing Pride jerseys like the Rangers and Wild did, but again, it’s sad to give credit for something that I think should be a given.

The bigger question to me, the Sharks would’ve faced tremendous backlash, especially as a Bay Area team, if they had backed out this year. When things quiet down probably next season, I hope to see Pride nights continue and players wearing jerseys, at the end of it, they’re just about inclusion.

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook

All the San Jose Sharks news that's fit to print

Enter your email to get the best Sharks coverage delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.