ST PAUL, Minn. — Hockey fans in Minnesota couldn't help but notice something was missing from Pride Night Tuesday at the Wild game.
The players were supposed to wear Pride jerseys for warmups, which had been planned for some time, but they weren't wearing them when they took the ice.
So far, the Wild aren't saying why, but hockey writer Michael Russo said he was told it was "an organizational decision."
Some think it could have something to do with geopolitics, as late last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law making it illegal in that country to promote gay relationships or anything in that realm. Since then, no Russian player in the NHL has worn a Pride Night jersey.
The Wild's star winger, Kirill Kaprizov, is from Russia, so observers point out the move could be to protect him and his family by sidelining the jersey last minute.
While Wild officials aren't saying anything about the possible Russia connection for certain, they said Wednesday that they "support the LGBTQIA+ community" and will continue to show that "hockey is for everyone."
"The Minnesota Wild organization is proud to continue our support of the LGBTQIA+ community by hosting our second annual Pride Night last night, which we celebrated in many ways.
It is important to host nights like this to show all players, fans, and the LGBTQIA+ community that hockey is for everyone.
We will continue to utilize our platform to strengthen our community and create a greater State of Hockey."
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