March 3, 2024

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The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear the Pride jersey, due to concerns about the Russian law

CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear Pride-themed jerseys ahead of Sunday’s Pride Night game against Vancouver due to security concerns related to a Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country.

The decision was made by the NHL organization after discussions with security officials inside and outside the franchise, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to the Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the move.

The Blackhawks have previously worn Pride warm jerseys and have worn special jerseys to warm up on some of the other themed nights this season. There have been ongoing Pride jersey talks with the players, according to the person who spoke to the AP, but the organization made the decision to hold Pride Nights without the jerseys this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin I signed a law In December, it expanded restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBT rights in the country. Chicago defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is a native of Moscow, and other players have family in Russia or other ties to the country.

The Blackhawks’ decision comes after San Jose Sharks guard James Reimer and Philadelphia Flyers linebacker Ivan Provorov refused to participate in warming up in Pride jerseys. The New York Rangers chose not to wear Pride jerseys or use the Pride Stick as part of their January night despite this plan being announced in advance.

Russians Nikolai Knigov and Alexander Barabanov wore sharks’ pride T-shirts on Saturday.

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While Chicago will go without the Pride jerseys this year, the team has planned a variety of activities in conjunction with Sunday’s game. LGBTQ DJs will perform before the game and during halftime, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus is also scheduled to perform. There are also plans to highlight a number of businesses in the area that have ties to the LGBTQ community.

Josh Dubo contributed to this report.