The San Jose Sharks will host Pride Night at the SAP Center on Saturday, but their goalie won’t be included in the celebration.
James Reimer announced on Twitter that he will not be wearing a pride-themed warm-up jersey before the game against the New York Islanders.
Reimer cited his religious beliefs.
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«During the 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian, not just in title, but in the way I choose to live my life every day. I have personal faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love them all and follow him,» he said via the team’s Twitter account. «I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone who I meet with respect and kindness.
«In this specific case, I choose not to endorse something that goes against my personal convictions that are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life.»
Reimer’s decision apparently goes against the theme of the night, but the Sharks said in a separate statement they «recognize and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or if they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of cause or topic.»
The Sharks tweeted Saturday that they will «offer information and data on LGBTQIA+ topicsinstead of «our normal game content» during the contest on Saturday.
«Our hope is that this content serves as a reminder that there are more important things than goals, highlights and wins,» the team said in its tweet.
SHARKS’ TWITTER ACCOUNT TO SEND ‘LGBTQIA+ INFORMATION’ INSTEAD OF ‘NORMAL GAME CONTENT’ AT TEAM PRIDE NIGHT
«Hockey is not for everyone until everyone is comfortable playing, working or being a fan of this amazing game.»
Reimer isn’t the first NHL player to avoid gay pride-themed jerseys in warmups. He Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers he cited his Russian Orthodox religion for the reason of not participating in his team’s Gay Pride Night warm-ups when the rest of the team wore LGBTQ-themed jerseys.
He new york rangers promoted his Pride Night in January, saying players would wrap pride-themed ribbons on the clubs, but that plan too was rejected without explanation. The same thing happened with the Minnesota Wild earlier this month.
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The Sharks are 19-36-14, and their 52 points are second lowest in the league. Reimer’s .895 save percentage ranks him 42nd out of 50 qualifying goaltenders. The average of 3.26 goals against him is 40th.