MONTREAL (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens’ Denis Gurianov has decided not to wear his team’s themed warmup jersey for Pride night on Thursday, citing family reasons.
The Russian forward is the seventh NHL player to recently opt out of wearing rainbow-colored jerseys on their teams’ Pride nights. Gurianov will not take part in the pregame skate when the Canadiens host the Washington Capitals.
Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said it was hard to comment on Gurianov’s decision because he’d never walked a day in his shoes.
“I think anybody can say you’d always try to protect your family, so I have a tough time judging that,” St. Louis said. ”(Gurianov) is a great kid, it’s tough.”
A Russian law restricts “propaganda” about LGBTQ+ people, including in advertising, media and the arts.
Russian Ivan Provorov and Canadians James Reimer and brothers Eric and Marc Staal all cited religious beliefs for refusing to take part in warmups in rainbow-colored jerseys. Ilya Lyubushkin said he would not participate because of the law in Russia, where he was born. And Andrei Kuzmenko, another Russian player, decided not to wear the special uniform after discussions with his family.
Despite Gurianov sitting out, St. Louis stressed how important the night is for the organization.
“We’re all on this planet, we should love each other, and tonight’s one of those nights,” he said. “We, the Montreal Canadiens, really care about this night, and so do I, it’s a great night.”
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