McDavid, Oilers "strongly believe hockey is for everyone" as they host Pride Night

Mar 25 2023, 4:40 pm

Connor McDavid is letting everyone know how he and the Edmonton Oilers feel about Pride Night.

Hockey is for everyone.

The Oilers, who will show their support for diversity, inclusion, and LGBTQ2S+ communities when they hit the ice against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, are big believers in the cause.

“Certainly can’t comment on other players and their beliefs and other organizations and what they’re up to,” McDavid told media Friday. “I know here in Edmonton, you know, we strongly believe hockey is for everyone and strongly support Pride Night. Looking forward to it.

“I think we were the first team to use the pride tape in warmups. We’re firm believers, obviously, in the celebration that is the pride night and looking forward to it.”

Oilers’ Pride Night will feature plenty of LGBTQ2S+ community leaders and allies, and players will use Pride Tape on their sticks in warmup before auctioning them off with net proceeds donated to MacEwan University’s Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD).

Proceeds from the Oilers 50/50 will also support the CSGD, supporting “cutting-edge, community-based research, teaching and service work related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression throughout Oil Country,” according to a release.

“I just feel like it’s important to show that hockey players care and that we’re inclusive,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of things going around the league with some guys choosing not to wear (Pride) jerseys and whatnot, but I just think it’s extremely important that we make hockey a welcoming environment for everyone.”

Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers opted out of wearing a Pride-themed warmup jersey in January, and brothers Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers also opted to sit out Pride Night warmup earlier in the week, citing their “Christian beliefs.”

The Staals’ sitting came days after San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer opted against wearing a Pride jersey in warmup for faith reasons, too.

Other teams have also axed Pride jerseys in warmups this season.

“Everybody has their own personal opinion,” Hyman continued.

“To me, it’s an obvious no-brainer. If I was in that position I’d wear one. It doesn’t go against any of my beliefs. On the contrary, I think it’s extremely important to be open and welcoming to that greater community just because they’re a minority and they face a lot of persecution over the years and to show that we care, and that we’re willing and ready to include them in our game, in our sport is extremely important to me.

“It’s a hard question just because people have their own personal beliefs. I just don’t agree with them.”

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