Sharks' James Reimer won't wear Pride-themed warmup jersey, saying it runs counter to religious beliefs

Curtis Pashelka, Bay Area News Group on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. — James Reimer will not participate in the San Jose Sharks’ pregame warmups Saturday, saying the Pride-themed jerseys team members are planning to wear to show support of the LGBTQIA+ community runs counter to his personal religious convictions.

Reimer, a devout Christian who is in his 13th season as an NHL goalie, said he came to the decision earlier this week. All other Sharks players are planning to wear the jerseys, team captain Logan Couture said Saturday.

The Sharks organization earlier this week announced a host of activities that revolve around its Pride Night celebration, including wearing warmup jerseys with specific crest and patch artwork designed to show acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I get what the message is. I think people are trying to show support to the community and I’m sure people in the community feel marginalized,” Reimer said Saturday afternoon. “So it’s people trying to come along (with) them in a public way and support them. For me, to some extent, that’s what you want to do, is you want to love them.

“But what I’m saying is where it intersects for a Christian and the way I personally and the people close to me in my life interpret the Bible is you love them, but you can’t support the activity or lifestyle.”

Reimer, 35, is not slated to play Saturday when the Sharks host the New York Islanders. Goalies who are not scheduled to start that night’s game still usually take part in the team’s pregame warmups.


In previous years, the Sharks’ Pride initiatives have been interwoven with the You Can Play Project and the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative.

“I just came to the conviction through my faith that it went against what I believe the Bible says,” Reimer said of the Sharks’ Pride night.

“It’s something that I tried to do my due diligence and just came to the fact that the best way to stand up for what I believe in was just to not wear the jersey and then to try and make this as loving and least offensive as possible.”

Asked about what is written in the Bible that would run contrary to wearing the Pride jersey, Reimer said, “there are a few instances in the Bible where it just mentions that the sexuality, that certain things, that it goes against the word, God’s word. There are definitely passages.”


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