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Rangers Release Statement Regarding Pride Night

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers
Pride Night in 2022
Photo by Brad Penner/Getty Images

Friday night was Pride Night, a night the New York Rangers have hosted for a number of years to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. In years past, the Rangers have worn special commemorative jerseys in warmups, taped their sticks with pride tape, and have auctioned the gear off with the proceeds going to a worth charity or organization.

As I tweeted last night, as most recently as January 8, the team was promoting Pride Night and selling ticket with a commitment to wear a jersey and pride-themed tape “in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity.” Essentially the absolute minimum that has been done by many team in the league.

But as you know by now, the team ultimately did not wear any special jerseys in warmups, and when asked about it postgame declined to do so.

This afternoon the team released a “statement” essentially not saying anything of substance.

So in essence, the “organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night,” but they opted not to give a reason for breaking from a tradition they’ve participated in for several years.

As Vince Mercogliano mentioned in a story for lohud, there were some other acknowledgements of the LGBTQ+ community including André Thomas, co-chair of the NYC Pride organization, dropping a puck at a ceremonial faceoff, but the stark departure from previous traditions is what most people took away from Pride Night.

One of the things that I think is most disappointing is that over the years the Rangers have seemingly been thoughtful, or at least appeared to be when thinking about this night. Here’s an example from just last year where the team featured Sophia Yeshi.

At a time where other teams were ignoring Pride Night or doing little things to pay lip service, it appeared the Rangers were embracing it in a good way. I preface what I am saying with appeared because I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and it isn’t my place to determine if the efforts the Rangers have taken in the past have been done so in the best possible way.

But a quick Twitter search will show that last night’s action leaves a lot of questions, and many members of the Rangers’ LGBTQ+ community angry, upset, and feeling extremely ostracized.

There’s been tons of people saying “stop talking about this, why do people care about this,” and other things of that nature. I think it is notable that the organization was appearing to be doing things to be inclusive and accepting, even if those things were small in nature.

They were doing those things for years, something changed, and they don’t want to talk about it. That’s something that stands out, and something I feel they should have to give a real answer for. The organization essentially has been telling LGBTQ+ fans for years that Pride Night was something important that the Rangers wanted to participate in, and then they just stopped, giving them no explanation why... and I think that’s wrong.