The Buffalo Sabres today announced that the team will host You Can Play Night on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at KeyBank Center. The You Can Play Project was founded to advocate for inclusion, acceptance and respect of LGBTQ athletes in sports. The event will run in conjunction with the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ month.
"We are proud and honored to be working with the Buffalo Sabres to promote respect for LGBTQ players and fans in New York and worldwide," said Wade Davis, Director of Professional Sports Outreach for You Can Play. "This Sabres You Can Play game shows that hockey really is for everyone, and that in the NHL - if you can play, you can play."
There will be many events taking place throughout the night. Gay & Lesbian Youth Services and the Pride Center of WNY will have tables set up in the 100 Level pavilion prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation will also be donating $5,000 to both the Gay & Lesbian Youth Services and the Pride Center of WNY.
Some Sabres players will be using Pride Tape on their sticks during pregame warm-ups in support of the evening. Each stick will be auctioned online at sabres.com/auctions beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Proceeds from the auction, which ends on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m., will benefit You Can Play.
"As part of the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone month, we are very pleased to host our inaugural You Can Play Night to promote inclusion, respect and support for all members of our community," said Michael Gilbert, Vice President of Administration for the Sabres "We are proud to work with the You Can Play Project and local LGBTQ organizations to show that everyone is welcome in our sport, our building and our community."
A PSA in support of the You Can Play Project featuring Brian Gionta, Ryan O'Reilly, Anders Nilsson and Dan Bylsma will be shown in the arena during the game. A video feature on Harrison Browne, a forward for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL, will also be played on the videoboard. Following the game, LGBTQ youth will have the opportunity to meet Sabres players.
About the You Can Play Project:
You Can Play works to ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans. You Can Play believes sports teams should focus on the athlete's skills, work ethic, and competitive spirit, not their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. More information about You Can Play can be found at youcanplayproject.org.
About Hockey is for Everyone™:
At the NHL, we have a saying: Hockey is for everyone. We support any teammate, coach or fan who brings heart, energy and passion to the rink. We work to provide the sport in a positive and inclusive environment for players, their families and fans of every race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and those with disabilities. Hockey is for Everyone™ uses the game of hockey - and the League's global influence - to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.
The NHL has designated February as Hockey is for Everyone™ month to reaffirm that the official policy of the sport is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands. Around the League and in our communities, we celebrate hockey's diversity and our unwavering commitment to respect for all.