Earlier this year, the NHL banned players from wearing jerseys and other equipment coinciding with their respective team’s theme nights on the ice.
But on Thursday, the New Jersey Devils found a way for players to don such sweaters off the ice.
The Devils are holding a "Hockey is for Everyone" Night – essentially a Pride Night – on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers.
The organization had a local designer, Kathryn Kennedy, design Pride-themed sweaters, and members of the team entered Prudential Center wearing them.
"Coming out is certainly something that’s not always easy, and it can take a while for someone to feel comfortable enough to do it," Kennedy said. "I can only hope that this design, and Pride Night, helps someone else feel respected, even, and welcome.
"These theme nights let people who are apart of their respective communities know that they’re seen, heard, and welcome, that this is something for them. It’s a huge honor to be involved in the Devils' Pride Night, and my hope is that I’ve created something that helps others feel accepted and appreciated."
Coordinating with the league's policy, the uniforms were not worn on the ice during warm-ups. The Devils say they will be auctioned off.
While the jerseys were not worn on the ice, members of both teams, including the best player on earth in Connor McDavid, put Pride tape on his stick during warm-ups. The league originally banned Pride tape when the new jersey regulations were put in place, but after players defied it, that ban was reversed.
McDavid once expressed his displeasure with the themed jerseys being taken off the ice, saying he'd "like to see [them] put back into place."
The Devils will also be holding "Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Night," a "Black History Celebration" and "Gender Equality Night" this season.
The Arizona Coyotes were the first team to hold a Pride night this season, with members of the team, similar to the Devils, entering their arena with such jerseys.
Earlier this season, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was threatened with punishment if he wore a Native American-themed mask to honor his wife's background. He did so anyway.
The issue was brought to light last season when Philadelphia Flyers' Ivan Provorov opted not to wear the team's Pride-themed jersey during warm-ups, citing his religion. Other players and teams followed suit for various reasons, ultimately leading NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to nix all themed jerseys to "keep the focus on the game."