MONTREAL - As part of the National Hockey League's Hockey Is For Everyone program, the Montreal Canadiens celebrate hockey and its values, under the theme of respect, inclusion and diversity all year long.
Through this initiative, the NHL uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster safe, inclusive and welcoming communities for all players, coaches and fans regardless of their race, national origin, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical or intellectual disability and socio-economic status.
In collaboration with You Can Play, the NHL partner for this campaign, the Montreal Canadiens will present their annual LGBTQ+ Night during tomorrow evening's game against the Vancouver Canucks, to express their support for people of different sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and to emphasize the importance of respect and inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ+) community in sports.
To this end, Montreal Canadiens players will demonstrate their support to the cause by wearing rainbow-colored jerseys and using rainbow-colored Pride tape on their sticks during the pre-game warm-up period. These jerseys and sticks will then be autographed and auctioned until February 29 to raise funds for the You Can Play Project, a non-profit committed to fighting homophobia in sports, and GRIS-Montréal, a research and social intervention group which demystifies homosexuality and bisexuality in schools. Fans wishing to purchase one of these one-of-a-kind items can register to be notified when the special auction powered by IBM opens by visiting lgbtq.signaturepro.ca or by texting "LGBTQ" to 438-600-2832.
Before the game and during intermissions, You Can Play and GRIS-Montréal representatives will be present at the community kiosk behind section 104 to provide information to supporters on resources, activities and services offered, while the players' spouses will join them pre-game to distribute rainbow Canadiens temporary tattoos and to animate a themed photobooth.
Finally, the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation will welcome in its suite students from Des Rives high school in Terrebonne, who during the 2018-19 school year, created a Diversity Committee whose objective is to facilitate the integration of sexual and gender diversity within their school. Desiring to use their voices as allies of the LGBTQ+ community, the six young founding members have organized multiple activities to raise awareness among their 1,200 schoolmates, in addition to staff and parents, about gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans realities. Their initiative allowed them to win the 2019 GRIS-Fondation Simple Plan prize, an award initiated by GRIS-Montréal and GRIS-Québec supported by the rock band Simple Plan, which rewards innovative projects to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools.
Hockey supporters worldwide are encouraged to join the conversation and to show their support online by using #HockeyIsForEveryone. Fans attending the game are invited to be in their seats by 6:30 p.m. on February 25 to catch the Canadiens in action in their rainbow uniforms. Tickets for this year's LGBTQ+ Night at the Bell Centre are still available: click here to purchase.