Flames plan to wear special warmup jerseys as part of Pride Night
Calgary Flames players will wear specially designed warmup jerseys as part of their Pride Night game versus the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
“Oh yeah, they’ll wear them,” head coach Darryl Sutter said Monday, when asked if all players would wear the jerseys. “I don’t think it’s been a real issue for our team at all.”
The message from the organization is simple.
“Everything is accepted,” Sutter said. “We accept [the LGBTQ2+ community] as fans.”
Players who spoke to media on Monday shared the same sentiment.
“In my opinion, it’s just showing everyone’s welcome,” forward Blake Coleman said. “We have [LGBTQ2+ people] in my family. It hits home for me. It’s kind of a no-brainer for me…everybody’s welcome in this locker room.”
“I think everyone’s on the same page here,” Dillon Dube said. Dube, Rasmus Andersson, and MacKenzie Weegar modelled the jerseys. “Me, personally, I support it and I want all our fans and everyone here to feel comfortable and welcome here and us, as players, want to be a part of that.”
The jersey was designed by local artist Megan Parker, who is from the LGBTQ2+ community. It incorporates plants and birds found in the Prairies, and is a similar pattern to the Pride rainbow flag.
Calgary Flames Pride Jersey valji
“Looks pretty good,” Sutter said. “I think it’s the wild rose in there and some birds. [They] look pretty good.”
Players will sign the jerseys before they are auctioned off in support of Calgary Sports and Entertainment’s inclusion program.
Teams and players across the NHL have taken different approaches to Pride Night this season. On Jan. 17, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov did not participate in the team’s pre-game skate featuring Pride jerseys, citing his religious beliefs. Recently, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer and the Florida Panthers Eric Staal and Mark Staal did not wear their respective teams’ Pride jerseys.
Teams like the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks have not had players wear special warmup jerseys, but held other Pride initiatives during those games.
“Our clubs do a lot for Pride nights and the issue was a handful of players not wanting to wear their Pride sweaters in warmup,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in Calgary on Feb. 28.
“It doesn’t mean that they’re homophobic. It means they that were uncomfortable wearing that type of sweater and that type of garb. You have to respect, at some point, individual choice.”
Coleman emphasized that players should have the right to choose and not be judged.
“People need to be able to make their own decisions in life, no matter what it is – whether it’s in the room, what you’re wearing, what you do on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “I think that’s the beauty of America and Canada and these countries where you can make your own decisions. For me, it’s an easy one…it’s not something I have to think too much about because it’s close to home.”
The Flames hope that by having the Pride night and wearing the jerseys on Tuesday, members of the LGBTQ2+ community will feel safe and welcome at the rink.
“We want to welcome everybody into the Saddledome,” Nazem Kadri said. “We want to continue to grow this game and get as many people watching hockey as we possibly can.”