The Melbourne Mustangs Ice Hockey team will don rainbow jerseys this Saturday, to challenge reigning premiers Newcastle Northstars in the first Australian Pride Ice Hockey Matches for LGBTQI+ rights.
All national Ice Hockey teams will play Pride Matches on the day. The Sydney Bears will be pitted against Melbourne Ice, and Adelaide Adrenaline will play ACT team CBR Brave.
The thrilling, high-contact matches are a partnership with Amnesty International, Proud 2 Play, and Team Melbourne.
“I’m proud to be part of a team that promotes equality for everyone,” said Damien Bright, Melbourne Mustangs Pride Game Ambassador.
“Our club is committed to supporting the LGBTIQ+ community and fighting homophobia. The match will showcase inclusivity in sport, and stand up for love and fairness.”
The games follow the success of AFL Pride rounds, and in the tradition of Ice Hockey Pride rounds in Canada, the world leaders in Ice Hockey.
Game day activities will focus on educating punters, and eradicating LGBTIQ+ discrimination and homophobic language from the game.
Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Ro Allen, will walk out on a red carpet over the ice to do the ceremonial Puck Drop.
They said, “For many people, sport is a key part of health and wellbeing and community involvement. However, sporting environments are not always welcoming or safe for LGBTI people. Events like today’s Pride game are a fantastic way to show the community that LGBTI inclusion in sport is valued and celebrated.”
Amnesty International Australia National Director Claire Mallinson, said, “Sport should be for everyone. This Pride Round makes the hockey rink a place of safety, inclusion and fun, where LGBTIQ+ people’s rights are protected.”
James Lolicato, CEO of Proud 2 Play, said, “The recent ‘Out on the Fields’ report found that 80% of participants believed that LGBTIQ+ people are not at all accepted or accepted a little in sporting culture. We need to do all we can to make sport a safer environment for all, no matter their gender or sexuality.”