On Thursday morning, the Montreal Canadiens put out a statement announcing that one of their players would not be participating in Pride Night.
“We were made aware that one of our players has chosen not to wear the special Pride jersey ahead of tonight’s game for family reasons, and as such, he will not participate in the warmups with his teammates,” read the statement posted to social media.
A statement from the Montreal Canadiens pic.twitter.com/BIYGSBCEHU
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 6, 2023
The Habs say they are hopeful that the player’s personal decision will not take away from the evening, concluding their announcement with the following excerpt:
“While we understand the decision, we also hope the focus of attention remains where it belongs: on evolving as a society to be more accepting and welcoming of all, without exception.”
The unnamed player was later reported to be forward Denis Gurianov by multiple sources.
Denis Gurianov, the only Canadiens player refusing to wear a Pride jersey, won’t take part in pregame warmup tonight at Bell Centre. Coach Martin St. Louis said the Russian player made decision for family reasons. The #Habs did not make Gurianov available to the media. #HabsIO
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) April 6, 2023
Martin St. Louis says Denis Gurianov won’t take warmup for Pride Night for family reasons. “I don’t know the repercussions, and I’ve never walked a day in his shoes…”
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) April 6, 2023
Gurianov is not alone in opting out of Pride Night. NHL players such as Ivan Provorov, Ilya Samsonov, James Reimer, Marc and Eric Staal, and others have done the same with their respective teams.
On Wednesday, the team released a photo of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jake Evans, David Savard, Sean Farrell, and Jordan Harris posing with the newly released Pride merchandise.
United.#GoHabsGo | #HockeyIsForEveryone pic.twitter.com/S6CsuxMS1E
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 5, 2023
The Canadiens will play the Washington Capitals tonight at 7 pm at the Bell Centre. Warmup is expected to take place half an hour before the game.