NHL continues to reveal total lack of convictions

Last month, Arizona defenseman Travis Dermott defied the NHL’s ban on using Pride tape. The league did not enforce the rule and did not issue any fines after Dermott’s show in the desert on October 21, quickly reversing the rule adopted in the middle of the night.

On Friday, Minnesota netminder Marc-Andre Fleury defied the NHL’s themed-style mask ban by wearing a mask inspired by Native American traditions during a game against the Avalanche. The league did not enforce this rule. Fleury wore a mask in honor of his wife, Veronique, who is registered with a Canadian tribe, but it wasn’t a good thing.

The NHL doesn’t have the courage of its convictions. That’s because there are no convictions in the NHL.

The league has been in awe since last season’s Pride Night was shrouded in controversy after several players refused to wear themed jerseys during pregame warm-ups. Ninth Avenue seems to be afraid of being labeled “woke” by some of society’s most vocal people who live on social media. So the NHL, under Gary Bettman, has flouted common decency and common sense, causing one embarrassment after another.

NHL now allows Pride tape
NHLI (via Getty Images)

There is a difference between quasi-compulsory virtue signaling and personal sensitivity. It’s easy to understand why the NHL, with at least tacit support from the association, banned themed jerseys this season. This was a good deed that the league started with, but loudly backfired when it got caught up in the social media outrage.

But there was no pressure from Dermot to wrap his blades in pride tape. There was no peer pressure exerted on Fleury to wear a specially designed mask. These were examples of good people expressing themselves for the common good.

The NHL is a business. That’s understandable. We should not expect to lead a moral movement. However, the league itself has largely hidden itself under the banner of “hockey is for everyone.” Currently, policymakers are showing a lack of courage at a time when individual actors want to do their part to support the cause.

There is a lack of moral courage from 9th Street, and those at the top not only lack the courage to stand up for their beliefs, they have no convictions at all.