In celebration of the National Hockey League’s Hockey Is For Everyone Month, the Toronto Maple Leafs will host You Can Play Night on Saturday, February 11 at Air Canada Centre during their game against the Buffalo Sabres. The NHL and NHL Players Association have partnered with You Can Play, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans. Toronto Maple Leafs player James van Riemsdyk will also serve as the team’s You Can Play Ambassador.
“It’s a privilege to serve as the Maple Leafs’ You Can Play Ambassador and to work in partnership with You Can Play in our community,” said van Riemsdyk. “Hockey as a sport, especially in Toronto, has a special ability to bring people together. Through our words and our actions we can show our game, our rinks and our communities are supportive and welcoming to all.”
Throughout the day, the Toronto Maple Leafs will work to promote inclusion in sport in a variety of ways. More than 20 players from the Toronto Gay Hockey Association will attend morning skate on February 11, followed by a meet and greet with Toronto Maple Leafs Alumnus Darryl Sittler. During the game, a You Can Play table will be set up in the concourse to provide fans with more information about the cause and a public service announcement featuring Morgan Rielly, James van Riemsdyk and Matt Hunwick will be shown in-arena and shared on Maple Leafs digital media channels. In addition, the Toronto Maple Leafs will present a $5,000 cheque to You Can Play on behalf of the NHL.
“We are proud to be working with the Toronto Maple Leafs and we are excited for their inaugural You Can Play game in Toronto this Saturday,” said Wade Davis, Director of Professional Sports Outreach for You Can Play. “The Maple Leafs and other clubs throughout the NHL are proving that hockey is for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, because if you can play – you can play.”
For more information about the Maple Leafs partnership with You Can Play and to watch the PSA, click here.
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.