A little more than a month after the NHL announced its new gender-neutral policy, the league has a new sport, a new team, and a new song.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman unveiled the new policy Friday during a ceremony marking the start of the 2017-18 season.
“I think it is important that we reflect what our fans have asked for,” Bettman said.
“And they want to be able to play the sport they love, the sport that has shaped our sport for a very long time.”
Bettman noted that players will be able now to wear the colors blue, yellow, and red, with white and black being the official color.
In addition, players will have the option of choosing their own jersey color, and Bettman announced the league is allowing teams to designate their own players’ jersey colors.
Bettman acknowledged that the new rules will not affect current players, but noted that the changes will “have an impact on some players.”
The announcement was welcomed by the NHLPA, which filed a lawsuit last year to block the new gender policy, saying the change is discriminatory.
“It is disappointing to see that the NHL will continue to treat women like second-class citizens,” NHLPA executive director David Poile said in a statement.
“While we continue to believe that this is an important change, we believe it is not fair to continue to ignore the needs of women in our game.”
The new policy will go into effect on Jan. 1.
It’s the first major rule change to the league’s policy since the 2013-14 season, when it became gender neutral.
The NHL has been forced to change its rules since the new season began in October, but it was not until recently that the league took a major step forward.
On Wednesday, Bettman and the NHL Players Association announced the launch of a new initiative called the Gender Neutrality Policy.
“We are pleased to partner with the NHL to bring the NHL’s gender-inclusive approach to the players,” the league said in the statement.
The policy will allow for players to wear a uniform with a different color on the front and back, and the goal is to create a “neutral” uniform that’s more welcoming to both genders.
“The Gender Neutral Policy will help ensure that the sport continues to appeal to both men and women,” the statement said.
The new rules come on the heels of a lawsuit filed last year by the NFL Players Association, which claimed that the NFL and the league office were violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by discriminating against female athletes.
The NFL Players Coalition filed a complaint last November in federal court, alleging that the policy is unfair, illegal and discriminatory.
Bettson has said the league will be changing its policy to reflect current gender stereotypes.
“Today, the NFL announced that we will be creating a new gender neutral uniform, which will include all players in their gender,” the commissioner said in Friday’s ceremony.
“Players will be given the opportunity to choose a gender neutral jersey and the color of their own skin.
The uniform will be unveiled at a ceremony on Jan 1.”
Bettson also said that teams will be allowed to designate players’ jerseys.
The commissioner said that in the past, teams had been prohibited from naming their own player’s jersey, which they would have had to do if the player had worn the colors red, yellow or blue.