On Monday, February 25, the Devils celebrated Pride Night at Prudential Center when they hosted the Montreal Canadiens for a 7PM puck drop. The Devils logo was changed over to the Devils Pride logo for the evening, which was used around the arena and on social media for the night.
Fans who purchased a ticket through the pride link on the website gained access to a pregame Pride Night Reception. At the reception, fans had the opportunity to mingle with others and listen to a panelist made up of three individuals. The panelists talked about their experiences being a part of the LGBTQ community while also being a part of the hockey community.
Eli, a 14-year-old transgender goalie that plays for NJ Avalanche was the youngest of the three panelists. He talked about the acceptance he received from his teammates and how that positively impacted his experience in playing sports as a member of the LGBTQ community. Rachel Donner, a player in the New York City Gay Hockey Association Recreational League and the Prospect Park Women's Hockey League, talked about her experience learning to play hockey in Salt Lake City Utah prior to coming to New York. Dave Farber, a regional board member for the You Can Play Project, which is a non-profit dedicated to ending homophobia in sports, talked about coming out while playing hockey at the college level and the acceptance he received from his teammates.
The panel was led by Joe Altenau, the Director of Event Operations for Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils, who wrote an article in 2017 for Outsports.com that provided an inside look into what it's like being an out gay man working for a professional sports team.
The event was attended by groups and individuals from various LGBTQ communities in and around the Garden State, including Garden State Equality, New York City Gay Hockey Association, You Can Play, and Newark Gay Pride.
Prior to the game, the players wore pride t-shirts while stretching and taped their sticks in pride tape for warm-ups. After the game, the players autographed their sticks. The sticks will be auctioned off starting Tuesday, March 5 through March 14 at newjerseydevils.com/pridestickauction. Proceeds will benefit Garden State Equality.
One player who supported the night was Devils forward Kurtis Gabriel. He netted the second goal of the night and celebrated with his team. He also kept his stick taped with Pride Tape beyond just warm-ups.
Gabriel tweeted a few days later in support of Hockey Is For Everyone and Pride Night. Hockey Is For Everyone is an league-wide initiative that looks to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.
In addition, Devils captain and You Can Play Ambassador Andy Greene teamed up with his teammates and filmed a video that supports the You Can Play project. The video was shown during the game on the Prudential Center jumbotron.
Video: Hockey Is For Everyone
Greene then met with members of the LGBTQ community after the game. He took the time to take photos with and autograph items for the individuals from the pregame Pride Night Reception, including panelist member, Eli.
Fans can purchase New Jersey Devils Pride merchandise at the Devils Den at Prudential Center while supplies last, or online at nhl.com/shop. To stay up to date with all Devils-related news, fans can follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram at @NJDevils. Fans can learn more about what the Devils are doing in the community, including their Hockey Is For Everyone initiatives, by visiting newjerseydevils.com/community. To learn more about the You Can Play Project, fans can visit youcanplayproject.org. To learn more about the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, fans can visit nhl.com/hockeyisforeveryone.