Bettman Pride Cup 1

TORONTO -- The smile on Kris Hamill’s face shined brighter than the rainbow-hued trophy he hoisted above his head.

Hamill’s Team White had just defeated Team Blue 6-2 to win the inaugural NHL All-Star Pride Cup presented by Scotiabank Pride Cup ball hockey game at the 2024 Hyundai NHL Fan Fest on Saturday as part of NHL All-Star Weekend.

“I’m just so happy to be a part of this tournament, it’s been an amazing time and I’m just so glad the NHL made space for us,” said Hamill, a 23-year-old goalie from Mississauga, Ontario. “I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and it’s just so exciting.”

The game showcased players from the Toronto Gay Hockey Association, one of the largest LGBTQ+ hockey associations in the world. Team White was coached by Professional Women’s Hockey League executive director Brian Burke, the former NHL team executive whose late son, Brendan, came out in 2009 as a manager of the Miami University (Ohio) hockey team. Team Blue was guided by NHL Director of Social Impact, Growth and Fan Development Andrew Ference and assisted by Hockey Hall of Fame forward Angela James. Dre Barone, the first openly gay man to officiate an American Hockey League game, was referee.

Team White and Team Blue were fortified by welcome ringers from the PWHL -- Emily Clark and Emerence Maschmeyer of Ottawa, Erin Ambrose of Montreal and Alex Carpenter of New York. 

“We’re part of the NHL All-Star Weekend, which is a tremendous example of inclusiveness,” TGHA commissioner Shane Hobson said. “It’s a stacked day and we’re playing ball hockey in a fantastic venue.”

Pride Cup 2

After the game, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the Pride Cup and a $25,000 check to the Toronto Gay Hockey Association.

“For me, this is about showing the work that we do every day,” said Kim Davis, NHL senior executive vice president, social impact, growth & legislative affairs. “Today’s tournament is a manifestation of all the work that goes on day in and day out that we include every aspect of society, and everyone that loves our sport and everyone that wants to love our sport.”

The Pride Cup coincided with the eighth anniversary of Pride Tape, the rainbow-colored hockey tape that was created to show support of the LGBTQ+ community’s quest for inclusion and acceptance in the sport and society.

All the Pride Cup players had their sticks wrapped with the colorful adhesive. The tape has been embraced by many NHL players and its popularity has spread to other sports worldwide.

“Never thought we’d be here at the NHL-All Star Game,” said Kristopher Wells, Pride Tape’s co-founder. “Our vision was to make the tape and if we could get it on one stick, it would help to share the message, that was the goal.

“We like to say, ‘We just make tape, it’s the people that make it powerful.' The power in Pride Tape is not in wrapping your stick, it’s in the conversation that it enables. Because it’s through conversation that education and change is possible.”