Leading Canadian ice hockey team the Edmonton Oilers once again showed their support for their LGBTI followers and sports fans on Valentine’s Night.
You Can Play Night promotes a message of inclusion. The Oilers last year became the first NHL team to wrap their sticks in rainbow tape, but the idea has now spread to 20 other teams, according to the Edmonton Journal.
On Tuesday, the team once again wrapped their sticks in rainbow tape for their pre-match warm-up.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 15, 2017
Oilers Entertainment Group Vice-Chairman Kevin Lowe said in advance, ‘The Oilers are reaffirming that the official position of our game is one of inclusion. On the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.’
Former captain, Andrew Ference, commenting on the team’s support for the initiative said, ‘The best teams I’ve ever been on were the ones where guys could be themselves.
‘They weren’t trying to be somebody else, they weren’t trying to fit into some mold. They walked into their workplace and they felt comfortable. That’s what this is: If you’re a good teammate, you can be whoever you are. It’s great to have a night that celebrates that.’
‘It gives my kids the chance to watch and ask questions’
Oilers player Matt Hendricks, the club’s ambassador for the night, said he had seen anti-gay slurs – which were once commonly used as insults on the rink – used less and less.
‘Now those words and phrases are more frowned upon, and they should be.’
On the night, he told Oilers TV that the initiative, ‘gives my kids the chance to watch and ask questions about it, and for a five-year-old, that’s kind of a young age, but it’s important we start talking about things when they’re kids.’
— Rogers Place (@RogersPlace) February 15, 2017
On Tuesday night, the ice rink at Roger’s Place stadium was bathed in rainbow lighting. Oilers players came out holding a rainbow flag, and their sticks were wrapped in rainbow tape. The rainbow tape was also on sale for fans to buy.
To cap of the night, they went on to beat their opponents, the Arizona Coyotes, by a score of 5-2.
— Oilers Foundation (@Oil_Foundation) February 16, 2017
The rainbow hockey stick Pride Tape