Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott wrapped Pride Tape around the top of his stick on Saturday, becoming the first player to openly challenge the NHL’s controversial ban.
Trent Leith first noticed Pride Tape on Dermott’s stick during the Coyotes’ 2-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks.
— Trent Leith 🏳️🌈 (@trentl14) October 21, 2023
The NHL told The Athletic's Ian Mendes it "will review it in due course" when asked if the Coyotes blueliner will face any discipline for defying the league's new, murky rule.
One of the founders of Pride Tape, Kristopher Wells, told Front Office Sports' A.J. Perez that Dermott reached out to the company and place an order right when the ban was reported prior to the season.
"We will happily send Pride Tape to any other NHL player that wants to join Travis and visibly demonstrate their allyship," Wells added.
Jeff McLean, another one of Pride Tape's co-founders, told The Athletic on Saturday that Dermott ordered additional rolls of last week, with the intention of donning it regularly this season.
"It means everything. It’s so incredibly powerful," McLean said of Dermott's decision to defy the controversial ban. "With tape not being allowed on the ice for warmups, we know from history how important these visual messages are. It just takes one person to do something powerful."
Brian Burke — former NHL GM and one of hockey's most outspoken LGBTQ+ advocates — also lauded Dermott for the move.
"Travis continues to be a courageous leader in LGBTQ+ allyship," Burke wrote on social platform X (formerly Twitter). "I hope other players follow his example." Burke wrote.
Last season, seven NHL players decided not to wear Pride Night jerseys, prompting the league to drop all themed warm-up uniforms for 2023-24 before specifically banning Pride Tape in a strange corresponding move.
Connor McDavid and a slew of other NHL players expressed disappointment in the move, yet there was also a common theme of the decision being out of their control. Considering how often hockey players are expected to fall in line, many wondered if anyone would risk a fine or some other consequence by using Pride Tape.
Dermott began, at least, to answer that on Saturday.