Sticking up for young LGBTQ players: Oilers use rainbow tape to show support

The Edmonton Oilers have shown their support for young LGBTQ players in a colourful way.

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have shown their support for young LGBTQ players in a colourful way.

Players hit the ice at Rexall Place on Sunday for a skills competition with their sticks wrapped in special rainbow-coloured hockey tape.

Pride Tape is an initiative spearheaded by the University of Alberta Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services.

Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference helped launch the campaign in December.

Ference admits he never would have imagined openly discussing LGBTQ issues when he first started his career, but believes most people now realize “it’s the right thing to do.”

He says the entire National Hockey League team got behind the idea right away.

“It’s not something that you have to go into the dressing room and twist guys’ arms. Basically everyone was on board immediately,” said Ference.

He said it’s important kids aren’t afraid to be themselves in front of their teammates.

“Small things like this where we can show our support and be allies … hopefully kids won’t have to quit sport and quit hockey.”

“We believe that hockey should include everyone regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” said faculty director Kristopher Wells.

“Pride Tape brings together two great things — hockey and human rights.”

A campaign was launched to raise money to pay for the first 10,000 rolls of tape. More than $45,000 of the $54,000 goal has been achieved.

The Kickstarter Campaign runs until Feb. 3.

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