The tournament saw all 80 participants identify as either transgender or nonbinary and served as the first of its kind, the NHL said.
“So, men playing on [a women’s] team?” one user tweeted at the NHL.
“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real,” the NHL shot back.
Social media erupted in the wake of the tweet, with many bashing the league as woke, but the NHL has doubled down, reiterating its support for the transgender and LGBT community in an initiative called “Hockey is or Everyone.”
“We support any teammate, coach or fan who brings heart, energy and passion to the rink,” the NHL said in a statement.
“We believe all hockey programs — from professionals to youth organizations — should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status,” it continued.
The NHL’s recent comments pushing inclusivity come as the league has come under fire for its lack of diversity.