By Suzanne Bowdey
The Washington Stand
Before Dylan Mulvaney’s six-pack lit a corporate bonfire, there were already signs the cultural tide was turning. In January, a single defenseman’s refusal to wear the NHL’s Pride jersey shook the sports establishment to its very core. He wasn’t trying to start a revolution. He was just a man following his convictions. But six months later, Ivan Provorov’s courage hasn’t just changed hockey — it’s changed the world.
“I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices,” the Russian told reporters at the time. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” They were just two sentences, but they challenged a status quo that had been as thick as cement in professional hockey.
Thursday, after months of player and team revolts, the NHL finally righted its 13-year wrong of making players props for Pride. After hinting at the need to “reevaluate” the practice in the offseason, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman finally said the league will no longer co-opt athletes for a radical message many reject.
After four months of trying to contain his players’ revolt, Bettman says rainbow-themed jerseys will no longer be worn. “I suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warm-ups, because it’s become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights in honor of various groups or causes, and we’d rather them continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction,” he told SportsNet at Thursday’s Board of Governors meeting.