The Montreal Canadiens’ Pride Night-themed jerseys were not worn by one NHL player during Thursday’s pregame warmups.
According to head coach Martin St. Louis, forward Denis Gurianov of the Canadiens opted out of the warmups for personal reasons.
St. Louis declined to imply that he was unhappy with the player’s choice. “I haven’t walked a day in (Gurianov’s) shoes. I know one thing, you should always try to protect your family. So I have a tough time judging that.”
Six other NHL players, including Gurianov, have chosen not to participate in warmups because of the Pride-themed shirts. The majority of these players, including Gurianov, are Russian, therefore they would be concerned about any fallout from their country if they show support for the Gay community.
Martin St Louis confirms Denis Gurianov won’t wear the pride jersey during warmups tonight. It’s pride night at the Bell Centre and Gurianov fears repercussions for his family back in Russia, according to St Louis. pic.twitter.com/cEnJZjdEiE— Dan Spector (@danspector) April 6, 2023
The Canadiens released a statement publicizing their continued support for the Pride Night while mentioning Gurianov. “We were made aware that one of our players has chosen to not wear the special Pride jersey ahead of tonight’s game for family reasons, and as such, he will not participate in the warmups with his teammates.While we understand the decision, we also hope the focus of attention remains where it belongs: on evolving as a society to be more accepting and welcoming of all, without exception.”
St. Louis, the head coach, reiterated his support for the LGBT community. “We’re all on this planet. We should love each other, and tonight’s one of those nights (to show that). The Montreal Canadiens really care about this night, and so do I.”