The Chicago Blackhawks organization again hosted its annual Pride Night celebration, in partnership with BMO, on March 26, as the team took on the Vancouver Canucks. (The Canucks prevailed 4-2.)
As media outlets previously reported, the Blackhawks did not wear rainbow-colored Pride jerseys during warmups because of safety concerns for Russian players. Conversations with security officials about the possible implications of a new Russian law banning "gay propaganda" reportedly led to the Hawks deciding to scrap the Pride jerseys for this year.
Before the match, the team sent a statement to Windy City Times that read, "The Blackhawks sent a statement to Windy City Times that reads as follows: "The Chicago Blackhawks organization is proud to continue its annual Pride Night celebration, an eveningalongside year-round effortsfueled by partnership and LGBTQIA+ community engagement. Together, our activities will focus on fostering conversation and more equitable spaces in our pursuit to make hockey more inclusive. We do not condone anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric, and we stand firmly with the community.
"While we know game-day celebrations like these are an important way we can use our platform to bring visibility, it is the work we do together 365 days a year that can create true impact in ensuring all of our colleagues, fans and communities feel welcomed and safe within our sport."
The team added, "Earlier this week, the You Can Play Project provided front office staff with an educational overview of their work across the league and discussed the meaning and impact of teams hosting events like Pride Night. The organizations will continue to work together to learn about ways to create inclusive experiences for all Blackhawks staff, fans and community members 365 days a year."
Brock McGillis, a former professional goaltender in the OHL and the first openly gay men's professional hockey player, joined Blackhawks staff and partners for a fireside chat about his playing experience, hosted by Blackhawks Assistant General Manager Meghan Hunter. In addition, members of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association hosted a family-and-friends skate event at Fifth Third Arena before attending and participating in a special intermission performance during the game. Also, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus returned for a first intermission performance while DJ Zel performed during the second intermission.
Lastly, in-game video moments put local LGBTQIA+ small businesses in the limelight. This year's features included Chicago Sugar Daddy Patisserie and the Chicago Male Salonwho, in partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, will provide support to job seekers with the Center on Halsted.