Video: SCOREBOARD | Oilers You Can Play PSA
The Edmonton Oilers will be proudly supporting Hockey is For Everyone and will be celebrating the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players' Association's (NHLPA) League-wide initiative with a dedicated You Can Play Night during tonight's game vs. Arizona at Rogers Place. In the spirit of inclusion, it's even more fitting that our You Can Play Night falls on Valentine's Day, a celebration of love and affection.
In support of their longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in hockey, the NHL, the League's Member Clubs and the NHLPA will spotlight a variety of community-related initiatives for Hockey Is For Everyone month. You Can Play Night was inspired by Hockey Is For Everyone activities focusing awareness on such areas as LGBTQ, ethnicity and gender equality, socioeconomic status and those with disabilities.
"The Edmonton Oilers are proud to share a message of inclusion, acceptance and diversity alongside the NHL and NHLPA with our peers and fans," said Oilers Entertainment Group Vice-Chairman Kevin Lowe. "As leaders in the community, on February 14 the Oilers will bring attention and awareness to Hockey Is For Everyone month during You Can Play Night to help ensure that hockey truly is for everyone."
The Oilers were the first professional sports team to use Pride Tape, showcasing this local Edmonton initiative during last year's 2016 Oilers Skills Competition.
Once again, the Oilers will be sporting Pride Tape during their pre-game warmup vs. Arizona, with these limited-edition autographed wrapped sticks available for purchase in the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation online auction in March 2017. The Oilers Coaching Staff will be donning You Can Play pins throughout the game as well. Additionally, for the first time, fans can purchase Pride Tape during You Can Play Night on the main concourse in The Oilers Store and behind Section 107.
Beyond the players and coaches' participation, the Oilers will also celebrate diversity and inclusion with a number of special game presentation elements, including special "Love" rink boards showcasing the evening's signature logo, You Can Play on-ice projections and scoreboard activations. The Oilers Mascot Hunter will trade his usual orange Oilers jersey for one with rainbow numbers on his signature #42.
The effort has been met with unparalleled support from our partners, with our Scotiabank Skater carrying a Pride flag during the pre-game ceremony. Plus, Canadian Tire has wrapped its in-game shovels with Pride Tape in an effort of support for You Can Play Night.
"The Edmonton Oilers are proving that hockey truly is for everyone by showing a passion for diversity and inclusion," said You Can Play Director of Professional Sports Outreach Wade Davis. "We are honoured to work with the Edmonton Oilers and the rest of the NHL to help spread this powerful message of respect for LGBTQ players and fans."
The Hockey Is For Everyone campaign is conducted in partnership with the You Can Play Project - a non-profit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports. The campaign marks the first time the Players' Association, the League and its Clubs have collaborated to encourage teamwork, inclusiveness and diversity in hockey at all levels daily for an entire calendar month.
This season, NHL Clubs have designated one player to be a You Can Play ambassador, being a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality and inclusion. The Oilers You Can Play ambassador is forward Matt Hendricks, a great role model for our team and broader community.
"Our Clubs, our players and our fans are committed to welcoming everyone to hockey," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "While the NHL family strives for diversity and inclusiveness all year long, February is Hockey Is For Everyone month, which will highlight, on a daily basis, the many ways our sport brings greater attention, heightened awareness and broader opportunities."
Fans are encouraged to join the conversation and share their stories of how hockey has made a positive impact by using the official hashtag #HockeyIsForEveryone.
For a daily calendar of initiatives throughout the month of February visit, NHL.com/HockeyIsForEveryone.
For more information on the Oilers You Can Play Night, please visit EdmontonOilers.com.