NHL reverses ban, will allow players to use stick tape to support social causes

Travis Dermott #33 of the Arizona Coyotes skates on the ice with pride tape at Mullett Arena
Arizona Coyotes Travis Dermott defied an NHL policy by using Pride Tape on his stick during a game against the Ducks on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. Three days later, the league lifted the ban on players using stick tape to show support for social causes. (Zac BonDurant / Getty Images)

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott has used Pride Tape on his stick to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout his seven-year NHL career.

He put in his latest order for the rainbow-colored adhesive product just before the league instituted a ban on players using their stick tape to represent social causes. The company shipped the tape to Dermott last week anyway.

"Yeah, he put it on straight away," Pride Tape co-founder Jeff McLean told The Times in a phone interview Tuesday.

Dermott defied the NHL ban by using the tape Saturday night during a game against the Ducks at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz.

Read more: NHL bans players from wrapping sticks with rainbow-colored Pride Tape

When the Coyotes play the Kings on Tuesday night Crypto.com Arena, however, Dermott can use the tape without worry of any possible consequences, after the NHL announced earlier in the day that the policy has been reversed.

"After consultation with the NHL Players' Association and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, Players will now have the option to voluntarily represent social causes with their stick tape throughout the season," the league stated.

Pride Tape, which launched in 2016 with the NHL’s assistance, issued a statement Tuesday celebrating the league's change of heart.

"We are so grateful to everyone who believes hockey should be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for all," the company stated. "We are extremely happy that NHL players will now have the option to voluntarily represent important social causes with their stick tape throughout the season."

McLean told The Times: “We’re elated that that was the decision that had come down. Interestingly enough, throughout this whole process, I was always incredibly optimistic, mainly because we have great relationships at the league and with the clubs, and we just felt that in one form or another that this would be revisited and we’re happy that it was.”

Read more: Elliott: Nick Nickson answers the call for Kings by assuming simulcast duties

You Can Play, a social activism project and an official partner of the NHL that expressed disappointment with the ban, applauded the league's reversal.

"Thank you to everyone who made your voice heard, and to @travisdermott for leading the way!" the group wrote on Instagram.

McLean also noted the significance of Dermott's act of defiance.

"What we’ve seen and the messages we received and fan art and other wonderful support for Travis, there’s no question in my mind that this played a big factor in what happened today,” McLean said.

Dermott has yet to respond publicly to Tuesday's news. The Times reached out to the Coyotes for a comment from the 26-year-old and did not receive an immediate response.

“As athletes, we have such a great platform to spread love," Dermott told The Athletic on Monday, "and I think if we’re not spreading that love then what the hell are we doing?”

Read more: Chicago Blackhawks won't wear Pride night jerseys because of new Russian law

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.