New York Rangers Spark Controversy After Promoting 'Pride Night' Jerseys And Stick Tape, Not Wearing Or Using Them

The New York Rangers hosted the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Madison Square Garden for its annual 'Pride Night' on Friday. However, after promoting pride-themed warm-up jerseys, the team did not wear them.

An email sent out on January 8, 2023, encouraged fans to purchase tickets to the game. It was branded with 'CELEBRATING PRIDE' and advertised the warm-up jerseys and tape, "in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity."

Despite what was said in its team-issued email, when New York took the ice in pregame, the players were not wearing the pride-themed jerseys. Instead, they wore their Reverse Retro Liberty jerseys.

Other elements to the Pride Night celebration took place as planned. André Thomas, co-chair of the NYC Pride organization led the ceremonial puck drop.

Branding celebrated the the LGBTQ+ community.

But the Pride jerseys, nor the rainbow stick tape, ever saw the ice.

What happened with the New York Rangers' Pride Night jerseys and stick tape?

That is the question that some are asking in wake of the reneged Pride Night promise.

According to the New York Post, players were not made aware of the decision beforehand. Upon arrival to the game, the Lady Liberty jerseys were already hanging in their lockers without explanation.

The team has worn Pride warm-ups in the past. It has wrapped its sticks in rainbow tape before.

New York even used the Pride Night jerseys in auction last season.

In response to the questions regarding the warm-ups and stick tape, the Rangers issued the following statement:

It is important to note the timing of this decision. New York did not wear the Pride warm-ups it had promised less than two weeks after Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov sparked controversy by refusing to wear Philadelphia's Pride Night jerseys.

The backlash was rather significant, and the NHL later released a statement that said players can make their own choices. It is unclear as to whether the Provorov controversy factored into the Rangers' decision not to wear its previously-promised Pride jerseys, but it is hard to imagine that it did not.