A growing number of players, including James Reimer, Eric and Marc Staal, and Ivan Provorov have chosen not to wear their respective team’s Pride Night uniforms this season.
In the recent edition of Hockey Night in Canada, Pittsburgh Penguins’ president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, joined Ron MacLean to reiterate his beliefs as well as touch on his own religious upbringing.
He said, “To our friends in the LGBTQ+ community, don’t be discouraged. We’ve had a couple of minor setbacks from a tiny number of players, but we’ve made steady and spectacular progress in this space.”
Reimer and both Staal brothers cited their Christianity as part of their reasons for refusing to wear the special-edition jerseys.
Burke is a founding member of the You Can Play Project, an organization founded in 2011 following the passing of his late son, Brendan, with the stated mission of ensuring “the safety and inclusion of all LGBTQ people in sports, including athletes, coaches, staff, and fans.”
Brendan was a former equipment manager for the University of Miami Redhawks men’s hockey team and made international headlines in coming out back in 2009 while also speaking out against the culture of homophobia in sports. He was killed in a car crash in 2010.