(Montreal) Forward Denis Gurianov will not participate in the warm-up period so as not to wear the Montreal Canadiens Pride jersey on Thursday before a game against the Washington Capitals.
Head coach Martin St-Louis cited security reasons for Gurianov’s decision. A Russian law prohibits LGBTQ “propaganda”.
Gurianov was not made available to offer further details on his situation. The team was unable to confirm whether he would return to Russia in the offseason.
The special jerseys worn during the warm-up will be auctioned and the proceeds will be donated to You Can Play, a non-profit organization fighting against homophobia in sport, and to GRIS-Montréal, a research and intervention group. which demystifies homosexuality, bisexuality and gender identities in the school environment.
A small group of NHL players have refused to wear Pride jerseys during warm-up this season, including Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers, Andrei Kuzmenko of the Vancouver Canucks, James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks, Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers and Ilya Lyubushkin of the Buffalo Sabers.
Some teams have changed or canceled their plans for similar nights.