Edmonton Oilers play with Pride Tape at skills contest
Kickstarter Campaign in Edmonton gets boosts as Oilers players put rainbow coloured tape on their sticks.
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The Edmonton Oilers put their support for LGBTQ youth on full display Sunday, endorsing Pride Tape and putting on their sticks for the team’s annual skills competition.
Pride Tape is an initiative of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, which has a Kickstarter campaign currently underway to make 10,000 rolls of the rainbow coloured hockey tape.
The Oilers Community Foundation made an $8,000 donation to the campaign and players also had it on their sticks Sunday.
Director of the institute Kris Wells, said the response since the campaign launched has been phenomenal.
“We have had supporters from all over the world come and back us,” he said.
Wells said the support from the Oilers along with boosts from Hockey Night in Canada and Calgary Flames President Brian Burke have all moved them closer to their $54,000 fundraising goal.
“Every time we see the NHL become involved we see more people come back the campaign,” he said.
Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference said he’s proud to have his team endorse the idea. He said it shows how far the hockey world has come.
“This conversation wouldn’t have happened when I started playing hockey,” he said.
Ference said all of his teammates were eager to endorse the idea and set an example for the young fans who came to watch.
“We know that trickle down effect will happen to the younger kids playing the same sport,” he said.
Wells said the Pride Tape campaign is a really easy way to let people know they have the support of the community.
“Athletes are profound role models and by using Pride Tape they can send a message of support and inclusiveness without saying any words,” he said.
Ference said growing up he had a friend who stopped playing hockey, because he was gay and didn’t feel comfortable in the locker room.
“It’s something that means a lot to me, knowing that you’ve had friends who were directly affected.”
Wells said when they reach their goal they hope to distribute much of the tape to minor hockey organizations. He said they will also encourage them to make sure they’re doing everything they can to be welcoming to LGBTQ players.