‘More Of A Distraction Now’: NHL Hints They Could Get Rid Of Pride Nights

[Website/Screenshot/Public — CTV News Ottawa]

Andrew Powell Sports and Entertainment Blogger
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The NHL could nix their Pride Nights, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman recently sat down with CTV Ottawa for an interview, and the biggest takeaway was his statement that the league will “evaluate” Pride Nights during the offseason, as they have “become more of a distraction.”

Several players and teams have opted out of doing Pride Nights after Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov declined to don a rainbow sweater, citing his Russian Orthodox faith. The New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild all decided to forego Pride Night jerseys altogether. The San Jose Sharks’ James Reimer, Buffalo Sabres’ Ilya Lybushkin and Florida Panthers’ brothers Marc and Eric Staal also didn’t participate in their team’s Pride Nights.

“This is the first time we’ve experienced that, and I think it’s something that we’re going to have to evaluate in the offseason,” Bettman said of the Pride Night backlash. “This is one issue where players for a variety of reasons may not feel comfortable wearing the uniform as a form of endorsement.”

“But I think that’s become more of a distraction now, because the substance of what our teams and we have been doing and stand for is really being pushed to the side for what is a handful of players basically have made personal decisions, and you have to respect that as well,” he added.

If the NHL decides to cancel Pride Nights, I have to applaud them on the decision. (RELATED: Brawl Nearly Explodes After Draymond Green Tries To Kick Herb Jones In The Head During Warriors-Pelicans Game)

Gary Bettman is right … it’s nothing more than a distraction.