EDMONTON, AB - Born in Edmonton, raised everywhere.
As the NHL community recognizes and celebrates Pride Month, the Edmonton Oilers and Oilers Entertainment Group extend their support to all members of the LGBTQ+ community while also commemorating the five-year anniversary of Pride Tape.
Pride Tape began in Edmonton in 2016 as a grassroots collective of individuals, academics, and community members who saw a need to help make sport more inclusive for LGBTQ+ youth, athletes, coaches and fans.
Not long after the Oilers used a Pride Tape prototype during their Skills Competition at Rexall Place in January 2016, Pride Tape became the pioneering tape supporting our LGBTQ+ communities and is now frequently used as a symbol of inclusion at all levels of sport.
"The Oilers are proud to have been the first team to use Pride Tape," said OEG Chairman Bob Nicholson. "We are grateful for the partnership and it has been incredible to watch the use of Pride Tape grow over the past five years, extending to other sports leagues and countries.
"The Edmonton Oilers are celebrating Pride Month and reinforcing a clear message of inclusion, acceptance and diversity alongside the NHL and NHLPA. We are proud to operate an open and inclusive venue and organization and our official policy is one of inclusion - on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands."
Thanks to the Oilers and the NHL's global influence, Pride Tape continues to grow and can now be found in more than 30 countries, as well as every province and state in North America.
Oilers fans' immediate acceptance and support for the idea of Pride Tape garnered an article in British newspaper The Guardian, as well as many North American media outlets. The support from the Oilers, as well as thousands of early Kickstarter campaign backers, made the production of the first 10,000 rolls of Pride Tape possible.
Pride Tape's story has been featured in the NHL's 100th anniversary book as well as Bob McKenzie's Everyday Hockey Heroes Vol II. The grassroots hockey following has inspired other sports to display their support for equality, diversity and inclusion through the tape.
For example, two years ago Pride Tape created the Strike Out Hate campaign with Minor League Baseball that is now gaining traction globally with grassroots baseball programs. Also, the PLL (Premier Lacrosse League) and the NLL (National Lacrosse League) have been championing the tape from its creation.
"The creativity of the fans has been the greatest surprise", said Pride Tape co-founder Dr. Kristopher Wells of MacEwan University in Edmonton.
Social media images of Pride Tape used on axe handles, bicycles, balcony railings, walkers and canes, barbecue utensils and more are a testament to how a simple idea can transcend sports and have a much bigger global impact.
Visit PrideTape.com to purchase Pride Tape and learn more about the initiative.