WASHINGTON -- Braden Holtby spoke with honor about being part of the Capital Pride Parade for the third time Saturday.
"From the first year we were able to do it, you could tell just the joy and change that it can bring, and we just want to do our part," the Washington Capitals goalie said of the annual LGBTQ event. "You won't find a place where more people … are just happy and enjoying each other's company more than you will today. Year to year, there's no way you can't have fun."
Holtby was the main attraction of the parade float sponsored by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Capitals, the NBA's Washington Wizards, the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Washington Valor of the Arena Football League.
The float slowly made its way through a 1.5-mile route through downtown Washington with Holtby waving at the crowd with rainbow flags while wearing multicolored attire signaling LGBTQ pride. The parade draws about 150,000 spectators per year.
Holtby, the Capitals' Hockey is for Everyone ambassador, has been a visible and vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community and human rights.
"There are people here who understand that there shouldn't be a time in today's world where you should be hidden away and not be able to be yourself," he said. "Our organization, Monumental and the Caps being here, hopefully shows people the way and improves people's lives."
The goalie missed the parade last year because it happened shortly after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup against the Vegas Golden Knights. But this season, Washington lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference First Round.
"In a perfect world, I wouldn't be here every year," Holtby said. "But if there's a positive and a negative, this is always fun. … If you can change one or two lives, it's worth it. Hopefully, we can do that."