Some NHL teams are reportedly opting out of “Pride Night” festivities. However, the Vancouver Canucks are going all in on promoting an LGBTQ agenda, including a drag show performance for hockey fans of all ages.
The Canucks will host the team’s “Pride Night” before Friday’s game against the Calgary Flames. The “Pride Game” will “celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.” The hockey team defined 2SLGBTQIA+ as “two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and additional sexual orientations and gender identities.”
Before the “Pride Game,” the Canucks will host the “Pride Party on the Plaza.” The LGBTQ-themed event will feature a drag show with Vancouver drag queens Mx.Bukuru, Carrie Oki Doki, Xanax, and Jerrilynn Spears. There will also be a musical performance by Queer as Funk — “Vancouver’s hottest, queerest event band.”
During the game, the drag queens will have a special section inside the Rogers Arena. The team will sell LGBTQ merchandise, and the proceeds will go to You Can Play — an organization that “works to ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including 2SLGBTQIA+ athletes, coaches, and fans.”
“The opportunity to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is very important to our entire organization,” said Michael Doyle, president, Canucks Sports & Entertainment, Business Operations. “Pride night and all the incredible activities that highlight this evening, is special for a number of reasons. Besides raising awareness and understanding, it also lets our fan base know that everyone is welcome here at Rogers Arena. Our club believes strongly in diversity and inclusion, and we look forward to celebrating these core values with our community.”
The Vancouver players will be asked to wear an LGBTQ-themed hockey warmup jersey.
In recent months, there have been several NHL players who have declined to wear the pride-themed jerseys.
A Buffalo Sabres player nixed wearing the pride jersey this week.
Two Florida Panthers players refused to wear the LGBTQ jerseys because they said it goes against their Christian beliefs.
A San Jose Sharks player opted not to wear the special jersey because of his Christian faith.
Philadelphia Flyers player Ivan Provorov was the first member of the NHL to reject the LGBTQ jersey this year.
The Chicago Blackhawks ditched wearing pride-themed jerseys, citing the jerseys could put their Russian players in danger.
The New York Rangers scrapped the idea of their hockey players wearing the pride jerseys in January.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said this week that the professional hockey league would evaluate whether to continue hosting “Pride Night” events in the future.
Bettman told CTV News, “This is the first time we’ve experienced that, and I think it’s something that we’re going to have to evaluate in the offseason. This is one issue where players for a variety of reasons may not feel comfortable wearing the uniform as a form of endorsement.”
Bettman described the outrage over NHL players refusing to wear pride jerseys as a “distraction.”
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