Coyotes’ Travis Dermott: NHL still ‘lagging behind’ after reversal of Pride Tape ban
Oct 27, 2023, 12:23 PM
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
The NHL announced in June that teams were no longer able to wear “specialty” items during warmups, practices or games. Before the season began, the NHL clarified that players cannot alter their uniforms and equipment to reflect “specialty” theme nights.
The ban included Pride Tape, something that’s been a part of pro ice hockey for seven years. The restriction caused backlash throughout the sport as the NHL once embraced the tape when it was introduced.
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott became the first player to defy the ban last Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Dermott decided to wrap his stick with Pride Tape, a decision he made due to a close relationship with a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Due to the overwhelming support of Dermott following his silent statement, the NHL reversed course, allowing players to support social causes with symbolic tape.
“I think we’re still really lagging behind in the hockey community in showing our support for this community,” Dermott told reporters before the Coyotes on Friday hosted the Los Angeles Kings for Pride Night at Mullett Arena. “Seeing our voice taken a little bit, it kind of hurt me and with the people close to me and giving me the confidence to take that first step, I felt comfortable enough doing it.”
NHL statement on symbolic tape in support of social causes. pic.twitter.com/BJN0hAde2W
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 24, 2023
Though Dermott’s action was quiet, a photo of him and his taped stick went viral on social media.
He received overwhelming support from people who were impacted by his statement.
With one child at home and another on the way, he wanted to set a clear example for not just fans and players, but his own loved ones.
“As a straight male, I don’t really understand how much impact I can have and how much impact I did have,” he said. “You just try to understand as much as you can. Talking to the people and seeing these messages gives you a better idea, but still, you really don’t know.”
When the ban took place, many players league-wide expressed their concern. Now, players can enjoy the freedom bestowed upon them throughout the season.
“How everything kind of unfolded is better than I ever expected,” Dermott said. “I don’t think the war is over by any means. I still think we’ve got a lot of work to do.”