The San Jose Sharks are hosting a Pride Night at the SAP Center this Saturday, but their goalie, James Reimer, has announced he will not be participating in the pride-themed warmup jersey tradition before the game against the New York Islanders.
Reimer explained his decision on Twitter, citing his religious beliefs and personal convictions based on the Bible as the reason behind his choice. The goaltender emphasized his commitment to Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ, stating that he holds no hate in his heart for anyone and always strives to treat everyone with respect and kindness.
While Reimer’s decision appears to contrast with the night’s theme, the Sharks have expressed their support for individual rights to self-expression, including how or whether one chooses to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic. The team will be providing information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics during Saturday’s contest, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity in the sport of hockey.
Reimer is not the first NHL player to abstain from wearing Pride-themed jerseys in warmups. Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers also cited his Russian Orthodox religion as a reason for not participating in his team’s Pride Night. The New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild have similarly faced challenges in implementing Pride-themed elements in their games.
As the San Jose Sharks continue to promote inclusivity, they are currently ranked second-lowest in league with 52 points. Reimer’s .895 save percentage ranks 42nd out of 50 qualified goalies, and his 3.26 goals-against average is 40th.