SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs have announced a partnership with the You CanPlay Project.
You Can Play is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the inclusion of all athletes in sport regardless of their sexual or gender identity. Its mandate is to provide education, spread awareness, and raise funds in an effort to make sport a safer and more enjoyable experience for all participants. The Sea Dogs are the first team in the QMJHL to officially partner with the organization.
“It is an honour to be partnering with You Can Play,” said Sea Dogs President and General Manager, Trevor Georgie. “A number of great organizations have shown leadership including the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, and the Canadian Olympic Committee. The Saint John Sea Dogs are happy to be the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team to officially take this important step.”
In the hockey community, You Can Play is known for its partnership with the NHL. This partnership has led, in part, to the creation of Hockey Is For Everyone Month, a number of teams hosting You Can Play nights, and players using Pride Tape (rainbow-coloured stick tape). Every NHL team has designated an official You Can Play Project Ambassador.
“Research shows that boys’ and men’s ice hockey constitutes one of the few remaining sites of exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in sport,” said Dr. Cheryl MacDonald, Co-Chair of You Can Play Project Western Canadian Board. “The best way to change this is for members of hockey culture themselves to make clear that an individual’s sexual or gender identity has no bearing on their athletic abilities and right to participate. The Saint John Sea Dogs are doing just that by hosting events in partnership with You CanPlay and are making history as the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team to do so.”
The Sea Dogs will host a You Can Play Sea Dogs night on Friday, January 19, 2018 vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Brock McGillis, an openly gay former semi-professional hockey player and You Can Play Project Ambassador will be in attendance. Fans can expect unique compliments to Sea Dogs game presentation and equipment, including the use of Pride Tape. More details to come.
Additionally, the City of Saint John will host a You Can Play 5K Race in summer 2018. It is a 5km walk and run in support of the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes in sport.
“Saint John is a City where people are welcome and wanted,” said City of Saint John Mayor Don Darling. “We commend our Saint John Sea Dogs on their partnership with YouCan Play. It directly reflects the importance we place on providing a safe, open and inclusive community for all of our citizens.”