San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer will not participate in Pride Night on Saturday, citing his faith as the reason.
The team is planning to have players wear warmup jerseys “with crest and patch artwork specific for Sharks Pride Night and designed by local artist,” according to a team statement. Reimer is not expected to be on the ice for warmups.
Reimer told reporters Saturday he began thinking about how he would handle his Pride Night decision last season, when he was injured and did not participate in the Sharks’ Hockey is For Everyone Night.
“There’s a bunch of teams starting to wear them and I just came to the conviction through my faith that it went against what I believe the Bible says,” he said. “I don’t want to really go into too much detail about the behind-the-scenes stuff. But it’s something that I tried to do my due diligence and just came to the fact that the best way to stand up for what I believe in was just to not wear the jersey and then to try and make this as loving and least offensive as possible .”
In a statement, Reimer added that he has “no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” he said. “I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.”
In a statement, the Sharks said they “acknowledge and accept the right of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic.”
The team said the Pride Night events “reinforce our organization’s values and dedication to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all guests in each of our venues.
“As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the Sharks said. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, players from the Kings are expected to have rainbow tape on their sticks in the warmups Saturday ahead of their game against the Canucks.
Reimer has split starting goaltending duties with Kaapo Kahkonen this season. Reimer has played in 35 games and is 10-17-7, allowing 3.26 goals per game.
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NHL teams have struggled with how to handle Pride jerseys this season. In other cases, the issue has arisen for teams with prominent Russian players in the wake of Russia amending the country’s anti-gay laws. On March 7, the Wild scrapped plans to have players wear Pride Night jerseys in warmups. Several players gave rainbow-colored tape on their sticks.
The Rangers originally announced plans for players to warm up in Pride Night jerseys in January but ultimately did not wear them.
The NHL’s Russia-Pride jersey problem, explained: Why the Wild became the latest team to scrap plans
(Photo: Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)