EIHL announce Pride Weekend
The Elite Ice Hockey League is thrilled to announce it is partnering with the 'You Can Play' Project to organise the league's first Pride Weekend.
As a league, the EIHL is committed to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, fans, staff and volunteers without regard to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This season, Friday 24th - Sunday 26th January 2020 will be designated as EIHL Pride Weekend to promote that message as one league.
The Coventry Blaze's pride game will be against the Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome Arena on Sunday 26th January 2020 (5.30pm).
Further information will follow over the coming weeks.
Elite League Chairman Tony Smith said, "Several of our teams have held their own individual events during past seasons, but I am delighted that we'll carry this important message across the EIHL. We are very proud to have a diverse fanbase across ice hockey in the UK. Our fans showed at the Playoff Finals Weekend that inclusivity is something they value in our sport, and we want everyone to feel welcome whenever they're in our arenas or attending our events."
Ryan Pettengill, Executive Director of You Can Play added, "You Can Play is proud to be a part of the Elite Ice Hockey League’s ongoing work to promote inclusion in and around the sport of hockey. The EIHL and You Can Play partnership sends an important message to athletes, coaches, and fans throughout the UK and beyond about how important this work is in creating a safe and healthy sport culture for all."
You Can Play Project
In 2009, Brendan Burke, a Canadian ice hockey player made international headlines for coming out as a gay man, advocating for tolerance and speaking out against homophobia in professional sports.
Burke's coming out was widely praised and supported by sports news outlets and fans, generating multiple discussions about homophobia in sports. He was viewed as a pioneer in advocacy against homophobia in hockey.
Sadly, he was killed at the age of just 21 in a car crash. In his memory, a ‘You Can Play’ project was formed by his Father, former Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Brian Burke and his brother Patrick.
This project has grown and grown and received a huge amount of support and high praise from the world’s biggest hockey clubs, including the NHL having a ‘Hockey is for everyone’ month each season, with each team dedicating a night to the campaign.
This trend has continued across all North America, with teams in Europe, including the UK Elite League supporting the campaign with special pride nights.
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