The San Jose Sharks recently held a Pride Night event at the SAP Center during their match against the New York Islanders, sparking controversy when goaltender James Reimer chose not to wear a Pride-themed jersey for warm-ups due to his religious beliefs. Instead of regular game content, the Sharks dedicated the evening to raising awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity in the sport. The event featured Pride-themed food, drinks, merchandise, lighting, and music. As part of the festivities, the Sharks requested that their players wear specially designed LGBTQ-themed jerseys during the pregame warm-ups. Created by local queer, biracial artist, and educator Houyee Chow, the jerseys showcased the team's mascot within a heart, adorned with hockey sticks displaying rainbow LGBTQ, progressive, and transgender flag colors, accompanied by the word "love." [tweet_embed]March 20, 2023[/tweet_embed] However, Reimer, who has identified as a practicing Christian throughout his 13-year NHL career, opted not to wear the jersey. He stated that his decision was guided by his personal convictions, which are rooted in the Bible. He also emphasized that he harbors no hate for anyone and strives to treat everyone respectfully and kindly. "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," Reimer said in a statement. "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." "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 response to Reimer's decision, the Sharks issued a statement acknowledging the rights of individuals to express themselves while reaffirming their unwavering support for the LGBTQIA+ community and encouraging active allyship. Reimer faced significant backlash online, with several sports journalists condemning his decision as a sign of intolerance and accusing him of using his faith as an excuse. The incident comes after fellow NHL player Ivan Provorov declined to wear an LGBTQ-themed jersey in January, citing his Russian Orthodox religion. The same month, the New York Rangers chose not to wear rainbow-colored Pride jerseys before a game.