The Edmonton Oilers don’t do a lot of winning on the ice, but they did get a win off the ice this week after their decision to use Pride Tape during their annual skills competition on Sunday.
The Oilers became the first NHL team to use Pride Tape in order to bring more awareness to young LGBTQ players in the sport of hockey.
What is Pride Tape, you ask? Well, it’s rainbow hockey tape. But it’s more than that.
Here’s a full description from the Pride Tape Kickstarter website:
Now more than ever, people should be free to love whoever they choose. Yet most LGBTQ youth still don’t feel welcome playing team sports. These kids don’t have many professionals to look up to—and for young hockey players, there are no “out” role models at all. So how can the hockey world show their support with pride? With a simple roll of tape.
Pride Tape is a badge of support from the teammates, coaches, parents and pros to young LGBTQ players. It shows every player that they belong on the ice. That we’re all on the same team. And we need your help to make it a reality.
When Pride Tape is up and running, proceeds will support LGBTQ youth outreach initiatives, such as You Can Play and the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services. That means every roll of tape will make an impact on and off the ice.
Pride Tape is ready to be made. It’s pro quality hockey stick tape, with six colours that could mean the world to a young athlete. You can help make it happen.
And the Oilers made it happen on Sunday.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 25, 2016
Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference spoke glowingly of Pride Tape and shared some insight from a player’s perspective:
“I think it’s one of those things, when you stop and think about it, when you stop and have the conversation, you know for the most part people just realize it’s just the right thing to do, to accept people for who they are and to include them in what you’re doing.
People should feel free to be who they are. If it’s not hurting anybody, then what’s wrong with it, right? It’s just that simple.
It’s basically just how guys talk about it in the room, we don’t really care. If you’re a good guy, and you’re there, and you’re a good teammate, and you’re working hard, then yeah of course, it’s no problem.
If you really break it down to the simple concept of being a good person and being part of the team, that’s really what it’s all about to us.”
Here’s a recap of the day from the Oilers official website: