Chicago Blackhawks won't wear Pride jerseys over safety concerns for Russian players

John Garcia Image
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Blackhawks won't wear Pride jerseys due to safety concerns
Chicago Blackhawks players will not be wearing their Pride jerseys over safety concerns for players with ties to Russia.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Blackhawks have scheduled "Pride Night" for this Sunday's match-up against the Vancouver Canucks, but Hawks players will not be wearing their Pride warm-up jerseys over safety concerns for players with ties to Russia.

The Blackhawks have worn these jerseys in the past. The news comes much to the disappointment of some fans in the LGBTQ+ community.

"People are of course enthusiastically looking forward to Pride night and the celebration that would be there," said Brad Snyder, interim co-CEO at Center on Halsted.

The decision reportedly came down from the NHL in part to protect Hawks player Nikita Zaitsev, who is a native of Moscow.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin recently signed a law making it illegal for anyone to promote same sex relationships.

The director of Equality Illinois sent out a statement that said, "The issue of the Chicago Blackhawks not wearing Pride jerseys to protect their players from homophobic laws in Russia is a reminder of how the long arm of homophobic leaders can reach all the way to Chicago."

Chicagoan Anastasia Voronova is a Russian native who supports LGBTQ+ rights.

"There's literally nothing surprising about their last law, and it's so unfortunate," she said.

The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus is scheduled to perform at the Pride game Sunday. A spokesperson said the situation for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia is inhumane and they are also concerned for the safety of families in Russia, so they will continue with plans to sing and advocate for the community.

The Blackhawks are at least the third NHL team to forego the Pride-themed jerseys. The team still plans to continue other Pride activities during the game, including highlighting several LGBTQ+ groups during intermissions, including the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.