(Edmonton, AB) - In support of their longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL), the League's Member Clubs and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) will spotlight a variety of community-related initiatives for Hockey Is For Everyone month.
Every day throughout February, Hockey Is For Everyone activities will focus awareness on such areas as LGBTQ, ethnicity and gender equality, socio-economic status and those with disabilities. The 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.
"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."
The Oilers and Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) will be proudly supporting Hockey is For Everyone and will be celebrating this League-wide initiative during its dedicated You Can Play Night on February 14, 2017 when the Oilers face off against the Arizona Coyotes 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.
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 an EOCF online auction at a later date. Additionally, for the first time, fans can purchase Pride Tape during You Can Play Night on the main concourse.
"The Edmonton Oilers are proud to share a message of inclusion, acceptance and diversity alongside the NHL and NHLPA with our hockey club, 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."
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.
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.