Ice hockey’s first Pride Weekend faces-off on Friday when Dundee Stars entertain Glasgow Clan in a key Elite League clash to be televised live on FreeSports (face-off 7.30pm).
All ten teams in Britain’s top league will be involved with the Scottish trio of Stars, Clan and Fife Flyers all wearing special one-off jerseys.
The idea was sparked by a banner at the sell-out play-off finals at Nottingham Ice Arena last year.
And Luke Fisher, the Elite League’s PR, told a press conference in Glasgow (pictured Matt Marquardt (Dundee), Ali McLaren (Fife) and Scot Tanski (Glasgow) that the organisation had every intention of increasing momentum for the initiative next year.
This weekend, fans are being invited to bid for the special jerseys and clubs are holding special events at their rinks, including raffles.
Omar Pacha, Dundee’s coach, said: “It’s great that the league is doing the Pride Weekend.
“In Dundee, we are partnering with TayFM and Police Scotland who are coming to our game on Friday to promote awareness for LGBTQ+ causes and organisations.
“We’re really looking forward to starting the league’s pride weekend live on television and hope that both our fans and those from the Clan will create a great atmosphere for what will also be important league points.”
Canadian utility player Scott Tanski of Glasgow Clan who host Fife Flyers on Sunday (face-off 4.30pm), said: “Our fan base in Glasgow really pushed out about how hockey is for everyone at play-offs last year.
“We see that hockey is a really safe space both at the Clan and across the league. It’s fantastic to see the league promoting this message together and we’re really happy to have Pride Glasgow involved with us for our home game this weekend.”
And Ali McLaran, media manager for Flyers who entertain Cardiff Devils on Saturday (face-off 7.15pm), said: “Fife Flyers are proud to be partnering with local organisations in Kirkcaldy for our Pride Weekend.
“We have Kirkcaldy High School LGBT+ coming to our game which has its own movement and it’s great to see how schools across Fife are working hard to make sure everyone is included.
“They also offer advice on how to help younger people who may come out to you, and we want to work with our junior club coaches as well to make sure that they’re able to support our younger hockey players.
“Also working with Fife Pride both at this event and in the coming year, the Flyers organisation aim to make sure the LGBT community feel welcome and valued.”