The Canucks plan to wear pride warmup jerseys on Feb. 28 in a game against the Detroit Red Wings
The National Hockey League’s decision to name a LGBTQ ambassador for every hockey team encourages greater acceptance of all hockey players no matter who they love off the ice, says Vancouver MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
The so-called ‘You Can Play’ ambassadors will act as “a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion,” according to a NHL statement.
The Canucks also posted a pride jersey photo on Instagram, stating team captain Henrik Sedin – the team’s LGBTQ ambassador – and his teammates will be wearing them during warm-up on Feb. 28 in a home game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End and a long-time LGBTQ advocate, applauded the professional hockey community’s actions.
“By being vocal and supportive in this way, they normalize the fact that there are gay players and they make it clear that they are allies,” he said.
“In the end, its about how you play the game and not who you love off the ice.”
He previously called on the Canucks to participate in the pride tape initiative, where players would wrap their hockey sticks with rainbow-coloured tape.
Sport is one of the last places where homophobia is sometimes tolerated, he said.
“When I talked to folks who play hockey, either recreationally or [in] organized sports in general, there still can be a real sense of macho, sometimes homophobic attitude in the locker rooms.”
He calls the LGTBQ-ambassador initiative “refreshing” and hopes this kind of acceptance will one day be ubiquitous.
But until then, initiatives like this spark much needed conversation around diversity in sport, including issues on racism and sexism, he said.