Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott explained his decision to use Pride tape Saturday night, becoming the first known player to stand against the NHL’s recent ban on the rainbow-colored equipment.
“You don’t really want to go against rules that are put in place by your employer, but there’s some people who took some positive things from it,” Dermott told Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports. “That’s kind of what I’m looking to impact.
“You want to have everyone feel included and that’s something that I have felt passionate about for a long time in my career. It’s not like I just jumped on this train. It’s something that I’ve felt has been lacking in the hockey community for a while. I feel like we need supporters of a movement like this; to have everyone feel included and really to beat home the idea that hockey is for everyone.”
The NHL sent a memo to all 32 teams in early October prohibiting the use of Pride tape. The decision came months after the league nixed Pride-themed warmup jerseys following controversy surrounding a collection of players who refused to wear them last season.
Dermott included the colorful tape on the shaft of his stick for Saturday’s victory of the Anaheim Ducks. The NHL said it will review the situation “in due course,” and Dermott committed to his decision expecting backlash.
“I don’t want to put my teammates or my coaches or my GMs or the equipment managers in any kind of bad light when it’s their job to kind of look out for something like this happening,” he said. “It was definitely something that I did just by myself and was prepared to kind of deal with whatever repercussions the league decides to push towards that. I’m not going to back off and say that this battle is won, but we’re going to find better ways to do it.”
Dermott joined the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract in July. He spent the first six years of his career split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks, recording 55 points in 279 games.