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Hockey Is For Everyone

Gay couple using Kiss Cam moment to help others

Brad Parr, Andy Evans raise money to fight cancer, will be at Kings' Pride Night on Thursday

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- The donation arrived from a man living on the East Coast. His contribution was generous and so were his words after seeing a Kiss Cam video.

"His letter was that his partner of 15 years was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, 'Let's cure cancer with kissing,'" Brad Parr said.

One kiss.

One kiss at a Los Angeles Kings game last season at Staples Center made an impact on multiple levels.

The night started with Parr, a government lawyer in Los Angeles, and his partner, Andy Evans, an actor, nervously awaiting their Kiss Cam debut. It ended with the video of Parr and Evans going viral.

Their moment is worth revisiting on a day in which the Kings are hosting Pride Night on Thursday, as part of the League's "Hockey Is For Everyone," initiative. Los Angeles Galaxy soccer player Robby Rogers, who came out in 2012, will be on hand to perform the ceremonial puck drop before the Kings-Arizona Coyotes game at Staples Center.

Parr and Evans are planning to be at the game and Parr, a Kings season-ticket holder, said they are expecting to be on Kiss Cam again.

Watch: Los Angeles Kings Kiss Cam video on YouTube

The timing last season helped in that they were able to use the moment and the subsequent publicity to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Parr estimated they received about $10,000 in donations in less than a week after the Kiss Cam appearance.

Parr had been tweeting at the Kings' organization in the past, suggesting a same-sex couple on Kiss Cam. He went to the game between the Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs with Evans on Jan. 7, 2016, fully anticipating they would appear on the video board.

For Parr, who was born and raised near Toronto, the night meant more because the Kings were playing the Maple Leafs. The main source of family tension, he joked, was his support of the Kings, not the Maple Leafs. He pointed out that the Kings won that night.

"We were nervous," Parr said. "There was a part of me: It's L.A., nothing bad is going to happen. It's hockey.

"There was part of me; when this goes on screen, what are people going to do? Will there be cheering? Will there be boos? Will no one notice at all?

"All of a sudden, the cameraman is standing in the aisle right by us … and we had our moment. The crowd went pretty wild when we showed up on there."

Each of the 30 NHL clubs this season has designated one player as an ambassador for You Can Play, an organization supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports. Dustin Brown, who has worked with the campaign in the past, is the Kings' ambassador; defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson represents the Coyotes.

Tweet from @TrasiStarr: @NHL earlier this season, the @LAKings made this greatness happen!!! My cousin and his fianc��! #YouCanPlay #LoveHasNoLabels #weareallkings

For Brown, some of the lessons are being taught at home with his children, specifically with his two older boys, Jake and Mason, who are 9 and 8, respectively. The boys came home the other day and told a story about a couple of classmates at elementary school.

"Our 8-year-old (Mason) just wants to know everything," Brown said. "One of the (classmates) called another kid 'gay,' and they had to go to the principal's office. They came home and told us the story. And we explained to them, we have friends that are gay. That's how we explained it.

"They always come over to the house and they're girlfriend and girlfriend."

Brown has taped public service ads for You Can Play. Additional ads will air in the arena during the Kings-Coyotes game featuring Brown and Kings teammate Tanner Pearson.

"I said this the other day; I think it's more about education than anything else," Brown said.

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