Ilya Lyubushkin claims that he won't take part in warmups on Sabres' Pride Night because of Russia's anti-gay law.

Lyubushkin, a defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres who was born in Moscow and has Russian relatives, will not participate in the team's pregame warmups for Monday's Pride Night game against the Montreal Canadiens. According to the AP, Lyubushkin has said that he won't wear a Pride jersey because Russia recently passed anti-gay legislation that restricts the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Lyubushkin was born in Moscow, where he still has relatives. He also visits the nation during the offseason. On Monday, the Sabres will continue to practice in Pride jerseys. "The Buffalo Sabres are proud to continue to support the LGBTQIA+ community as allies by hosting our third annual Pride Night game," the team said in a statement. We must continue making use of our stage to advance our organization's goal of making hockey accessible to everyone. As in earlier years, our groups are resolved that wearing Pride pullovers and utilizing Pride tape during warmups are two viable ways of prevailing upon fans. In spite of this, we are aware of the boundless perils confronting a players and regard their choice to play it safe. In a separate statement, the Sabres' captain, Kyle Okposo, acknowledged his appreciation for the difficult circumstances Russian players like Lyubushkin face. Okposo stated that it is such a delicate subject and that you are particularly concerned about the Russians. I can say that I have no idea what it's like to live and grow up in Russia as a North American from the United States. Additionally, I don't believe we can discuss those players' psychological states because we are unable to comprehend. Since we haven't been there, we honestly can't understand. The ties that NHL players have to Russia have had an impact on the decisions that several teams and players in the NHL have made in recent weeks regarding Pride Nights. Sunday was set aside for the customary Pride Night matchup between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks. In the end, the team decided not to wear their Pride-themed jerseys during the competition's warm-ups. The Blackhawks made the decision not to wear jerseys with Pride-themed designs because of the same Russian legislation that restricts the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. While warming up for the team's event on Thursday, the Russian-born goalie for the Florida Panthers, Sergei Bobrovsky, wore a Pride jersey. The Panthers' Eric Staal, a forward, and Marc Staal, a defenseman, decided not to wear Pride-themed jerseys that same night. They did so on the basis of their Christian beliefs. On Philadelphia Flyers Pride Night in January, defenseman Ivan Provorov skipped warmups citing his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs. The San Jose Sharks' James Reimer did the same thing earlier this month, and the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers decided not to warm up in Pride jerseys even though they had planned to.
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