The culture surrounding hockey could certainly use some changing, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are taking a huge step in doing so on February 7th. The Penguins have partnered with the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh and the You Can Play Initiative to celebrate LGBT inclusion and equality in the sport of hockey during their game against the Calgary Flames.
In many sports, especially one with such macho stereotypes like hockey, gay players and fans do not always feel comfortable or welcome. It is incredibly important that we, as the hockey community, take the measures necessary to help eliminate the discrimination and stigma that gay players and fans face every day.
The Penguins are also encouraging LGBTQ involvement into the sport by offering a special $50 ticket deal. Follow the link below and enter code “DELTA” and your tickets are only $50, according to Delta’s Facebook page. Along with the discounted tickets, the Penguins have donated a luxury box for LGBTQ youth to enjoy the game from.
The Penguins chose February 7th’s game against the Flames because of Flame’s President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke’s close affiliation with the You Can Play foundation. Brian’s son, Brendan, came out as a gay man in 2009 and was active in combatting homophobia in hockey until his tragic death in 2010. Brian’s other son, Patrick, co-founded the You Can Play foundation in honor of his brother Brendan. Brian and Patrick still actively pursue Brendan’s mission of eradicating homophobia in hockey.
If you’re an LGBT hockey fan reading this who has never been to a live hockey game and you’re unsure of going, I highly encourage that you give it a try. This a great event to be surrounded by many other supporters and gay hockey fans just like you. This is your event and you deserve to enjoy yourself. Plus, these tickets are a great deal for $50. It would speak volumes of how great of a city Pittsburgh is if we could sell this game out and show our support for a very deserving group of people.
Sports are a great escape from the atrocities of the cruel world we live in. Athletes and fans of all sexual orientation, religion, race and gender deserve to feel welcome and safe. We are all on the same team in the end, and I’m incredibly proud of my team for showing support for such a great cause.