The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks will hold a drag show prior to facing the Calgary Flames during Pride Night on Friday.
Pride Party on the Plaza will be presented by Stanley Park Brewing and will feature a music and dance performances along with the drag performance. The event will also feature a pride-themed “welcome wall” with a colorful balloon arch, face paintings, and an autograph session with Canucks alumnus Jyrki Lumme among a host of in-arena pride celebrations.
“The opportunity to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is very important to our entire organization,” said Michael Doyle, president of the team’s entertainment and 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.”
“2SLGBTQIA+ represents two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual and additional sexual orientations and gender identities,” reads the press release.
Vancouver Canucks to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community at Pride Night, this Friday against the Calgary Flames.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 29, 2023
“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,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, suggesting the league might drop pride events in a statement to CTV News. “This is one issue where players for a variety of reasons may not feel comfortable wearing the uniform as a form of endorsement.”
I think that’s become more of a distraction now, because the substance of what our teams and we have been doing and stand for is really being pushed to the side for what is a handful of players basically have made personal decisions, and you have to respect that as well. Florida Panthers players Eric and Marc Staal, in town to play the Senators Monday night, refused to wear the jerseys last Thursday night, citing their Christian beliefs.
Brothers Eric and Marc Stall, who both play for the Florida Panthers, declined to wear pride jerseys last Thursday night citing Christian beliefs.
“We carry no judgement on how people choose to live their lives, and believe that all people should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey,” they said in a statement. “Having said that, we feel that by us wearing a Pride jersey, it goes against our Christian beliefs.”
Along with the Staal brothers, a series of fellow NHL players — including San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer and Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov — have declined to wear pride jerseys due to religious objections.
On Monday, Buffalo Sabres defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin declined to participate in a warmup in which the team was slated to wear pride jerseys, citing fear of retribution for “anti-gay Kremlin law” in his home country of Russia. The Chicago Blackhawks unanimously decided against players wearing pride jerseys, citing the “anti-gay law” in Russia out of concern and safety for one Russian player and two other players with connection to the country.