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Lightning Round: it’s Gasparilla season!

The Bolts have unveiled some eye-patching new jerseys.

NHL All-Star Weekend: 2018
Dirk Shadd

The Tampa Bay Lightning have unlocked their newest special jersey with a yo ho, yo ho, and a bottle of rum! The team will be hoisting Gasparilla-themed jerseys on January 29th, which are already being auctioned off for the next week with proceeds going to the Lightning Foundation charity.

Mathieu Joseph and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare co-wrote an essay reflecting on the state of the NHL when Willie O’Ree finally made the league, and the steps that still need to be taken for there to be equal opportunity without hate. O’Ree, who was the first Black player to play in the NHL, is having his jersey raised to the rafters this week in Boston.

Further to the work the NHL needs to be an example on, Hockey PEI (in Canada) have apologized for their indefinite suspension of Keegan Mitchell after he defended his teammate who was called a racial slur. The organization initially gave the offending player a punitive and banned Mitchell from the league for calling out the wrong decision on social media.

Mitchell said he didn’t care if he never go to play again, all he cared about was standing up for what’s right. After immense national pressure from hockey fans around the country, Hockey PEI changed their tone and corrected the wrong suspension, with the player saying the racist slur getting five games instead of two and Mitchell being reinstated immediately.

Shoutout to Keegan Mitchell, you are awesome. [CBC Sports]

“Hockey P.E.I. is repealing this suspension effective immediately. As an organization and as individuals, we need to take a stand against racism and help make the hockey environment a safe and welcoming place for everyone,” the statement said.

People always say you can never apologize because it’s never enough. But I’ll say this, the Hockey PEI apology is a heck of an apology and they made things right all at once. No PR tactics, just honesty, remorse, and action.

“Secondly, Keegan Mitchell, the young man who defended his teammate, was suspended indefinitely for violating Hockey PEI’s social media policy. Hockey PEI is repealing this suspension effective immediately. As an organization and as individuals, we need to take a stand against racism and help make the hockey environment a safe and welcoming place for everyone. We commend Keegan for speaking up for what was right and shining a spotlight on our missteps around this tragic incident.”

As cool as the Gasparilla jerseys are, these Lunar New Year jerseys from the Vancouver Canucks are amazing.

And lastly, Aaron Luchuk is an ECHL All-Star.