Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman, Travis Dermott, took a stand against the NHL’s recent ban on Pride Tape, and he unquestionably deserves recognition for his actions.
Travis Dermott may not have been a top defenseman during his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he consistently exhibited exceptional character, particularly in his time with the Toronto Marlies.
For those of you who regularly follow this website, you may be aware of my previous affiliations with the Leafs organization. During my time there, I worked closely with the Toronto Marlies on a day-to-day basis.
By spending each day at the Coca Cola Coliseum and maintaining close proximity to the players, I gained an advantage in assessing which players would transition from the AHL to the NHL, as well as understanding the personal qualities of each player.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs Player Deserves Mark Messier Award
Dermott spent two seasons with the Marlies and played an integral role in the team’s Calder Cup victory. He consistently stood out as one of the friendliest individuals in the locker room. After every game, he would meet with fans, and he always wore a warm and welcoming smile on his face. Despite being a second-round draft pick destined for the NHL, he remained grounded and approachable.
On several occasions, other AHL superstar players exhibited a sense of superiority over the league and weren’t as approachable, but Dermott consistently endeared himself to both fans and teammates.
Given my history with the team, it came as no surprise to witness Dermott’s principled actions at the start of this NHL season. He should be commended for his actions and considered for the Mark Messier Award at the end of the season.
Dermott Deserves Ton of Credit For Actions
Before the NHL season commenced, the league imposed a ban on the use of Pride Tape, a decision that can only be described as one of the most ill-advised moves in recent memory. In 2013, the NHL partnered with “You Can Play” with the aim of becoming the most inclusive sports league in the world. Thus, the decision to prohibit rainbow-colored tape appears utterly incongruous with this mission.
Furthermore, their “Hockey is For Everyone” program seems to lose its meaning when Pride Tape is eliminated, essentially signaling that those who support the LGBTQ+ community are unwelcome at their games.
It would have been effortless for Dermott to conform to the NHL’s new rules and carry on as usual. Nevertheless, he took a principled stance and continued to use Pride Tape, even though he was well aware of the potential consequences.
"“I definitely went through some emotional ups and downs that night, not regretting anything by any means, but I’d love to have maybe done a couple of steps a little differently by making sure that everyone was aware of what was going on before I did it,” Dermott reflected on his decision (via Yahoo Sports)."
The NHL urgently requires more players like Dermott, as his actions resulted in a change of course. The league ultimately decided to reverse their ban on Pride Tape, but it’s essential to remember that they initially instituted the ban.
Hopefully, at the end of the year, Dermott will be recognized with the Mark Messier Leadership Award because he unquestionably deserves it.