The New York Islanders center Kyle Palmieri (21) celebrates a goal with center Brock Nelson (29) as the San Jose Sharks goaltender Kappo Kahkonen (36) and defenseman Derrick Pouliot (55) look on at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Mar 18, 2023 (INDTVUSA photo)
By Daniel Dullum
Saturday, March 18, 2023
While the San Jose Sharks celebrated Pride Night by wearing special warmup jerseys prior to their game on Saturday against the New York Islanders supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, Sharks goaltender James Reimer chose not to participate.
In a statement, Reimer cited religious beliefs, saying, in part, “I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness. … I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBYQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.”
Sharks captain Logan Couture said Reimer had the right to make his own decision, saying, “Every individual has a choice and he made his.”
On the ice, the Sharks scored first, but the Islanders eventually won 4-1 at SAP Center. New York improved to 36-27-8 (80 points), while San Jose lost its sixth straight game and fell to 19-37-14 (52 points).
After Kevin Labanc scored his 12th goal of the season at 7:31 of the first period, it was all Islanders. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the equalizer at 16:08 on a shorthanded goal, and Kyle Palmieri’s 12th goal of the season at 2:18 of the second period put New York ahead to stay.
Ryan Pulock scored the third Islanders goal at 5:24 of the second, and Zach Parise netted his 18th goal at 5:19 of the third period to complete the scoring.
Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves on 33 Islanders shots. New York goaltender Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Sharks hit the road north of the border next week, with stops in Edmonton on Monday, Vancouver on Thursday, and Calgary next Saturday.