The San Jose Sharks are hosting Pride Night at SAP Center Saturday, but their goalie will not be included in the celebration.
James Reimer announced on Twitter he will not wear a pride-themed warmup jersey before the game against the New York Islanders.
Reimer cited his religious beliefs.
“For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian — not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone 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 that I encounter with respect and kindness.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life.”
Reimer’s decision seemingly goes against the night’s theme, but the Sharks said in a separate statement they “acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic.”
The Sharks tweeted on Saturday they will “offer information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics” instead of “our normal game content” throughout Saturday’s contest.
“Our hope is that this content will serve as a reminder that there are issues more important than goals, highlights, and wins,” the team said in its tweet.
“Hockey is not for everyone until everyone is comfortable playing, working, or being a fan of this incredible game.”
Reimer is not the first NHL player to shun Pride-themed jerseys in warmups. The Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox religion for his reason not to participate in warmups on his team’s Pride Night when the rest of the team wore LGBTQ-themed jerseys.
The New York Rangers promoted its Pride Night in January, saying players would wrap pride-themed tape on sticks, but that plan was also nixed with no explanation. The same thing occurred with the Minnesota Wild earlier this month.
The Sharks are 19-36-14, and their 52 points are the second-lowest in the league. Reimer’s .895 save percentage ranks 42nd out of 50 qualified goalies. His 3.26 goals against average is 40th.