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FEATURE: Blackhawks host Hockey is for Everyone Night

The evening was part of a league-wide mission and commitment to diversify the sport of hockey

by Fred Mitchell / Community Correspondent

With a league-wide mission and commitment to diversify the sport of hockey, the Blackhawks celebrated "Hockey is for Everyone" night on April 1.

The Blackhawks faced the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center and the host players opened the commemoration by sporting Pride Tape on their hockey sticks during pregame warmups.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: It can be played for the first time at any age or with all girls. Without limitations and with pride. Just for fun or knowing you can compete with the best. #HockeyIsForEveryone pic.twitter.com/LmGj2iXDgZ

Earlier in the week young students from the Girl Scouts, the ICE (Inner-City Education) program and other organizations collaborated to create a multi-colored mural in the United Center atrium, which reads: "We All Live Here."

Fans were encouraged to view the mural before and after the game that was created in coordination with the "We All Live Here" project, which uses art to emphasize the importance of inclusion. The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation had brought together more than 100 youth for the project. The Marillac St. Vincent Family Services also helped create the special mural. Meanwhile, fans were urged to display their support on social media by using the hashtags #hockeyisforeveryone and #wealllivehere.

The purpose of the annual "Hockey is for Everyone" night throughout the NHL is to promote access to the sport for every race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and those with disabilities.

The Blackhawks' 2018-19 player ambassador for the initiative is Marcus Kruger.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: #HockeyIsForEveryone from the ice to the Atrium! #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/Mcs22Anbfh

Some of the sticks used in the pregame warmups by the Blackhawks will be auctioned online in the coming days at blackhawks.com. The proceeds from the auction will be used to benefit organizations that increase diversity in hockey through the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.

The You Can Play Project, Chicago Blackhawks Blind Hockey, Chicago Gay Hockey Association, and Center on Halsted also were located throughout the United Center concourse during the game. A portion of the Blackhawks silent auction and Split the Pot proceeds will benefit these organizations.

Monday also marked the first Blackhawks game under the United Center's recently announced sensory inclusive certification by KultureCity. There is a newly-designated "Quiet Room" at section 115 and sensory bags are available to fans who want to calm their environment.

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