This February, the NHL plans to showcase its commitment to the diversity of the game. The NHL, NHLPA, and all 30 member clubs have partnered with You Can Play as part of a month-long campaign for the Hockey Is For Everyone initiative.
Teams with designated You Can Play Nights will focus on the local LGBT community and players will use Pride Tape during warm ups. Pride Tape and team pride shirts will be available for purchase for the first time through the NHL.com store.
Many teams have multiple Hockey Is For Everyone nights planned, with the Blue Jackets, the Flyers, and the Capitals all topping the list with nine home events each. But with just four home games in February, the Sharks will only have one event on March 2nd.
While only select teams will have designated You Can Play Nights, every team this year has an ambassador to You Can Play, someone committed to “being a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion.” It will be interesting to see who will step up as an ambassador to You Can Play with the departure of Tommy Wingels, who had been the campaign's loudest supporter in San Jose.
The NHL has partnered with You Can Play for the last four seasons and Hockey Is For Everyone is in its 19th year. This month will mark the first full collaboration between the League, its Clubs, and the Players Association for these initiatives.