The English Ice Hockey Association is pleased to announce their inaugural Pride Week will take place in January 2022, featuring clubs in the NIHL and WNIHL (National Ice Hockey League and Womens National Ice Hockey League).
Pride Week will run from 7 to 16 January 2022 with clubs designating a home game as their Pride night with activities and promotions to show that hockey is a sport for all and a rink is a safe space for everyone.
From the visible signs such as helmet stickers, rainbow laces and Pride tape on sticks to clubs working with community groups supporting LGBTQ and other marginalised groups to share information and advice with their own fans to promote diversity and inclusion around the hockey family.
Each club’s Pride night will be different as the challenges of each club’s home town community will be different. However the message throughout the Pride Week is the same:
The EIHA and the teams, players and staff of the NIHL and WNIHL are committed to making ice hockey a safe and inclusive sport for everyone involved – for athletes, coaches, officials, staff and fans. We do not condone language or behaviour that targets a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or other protected characteristic; we will continue to challenge such behaviour especially where it’s under the guise of ‘banter’. We believe that ice hockey is for everyone and will continue to share this message of equality.
EIHA director and WNIHL lead Faye Andrews said: “I am pleased that we have our Pride Week coming in January and delighted that our WNIHL clubs can be part of the event.
“A sport like hockey can bring people together and improve physical and mental health, but we need to show that players, officials, volunteers or fans need not choose between their sport and being themselves. Hockey has to be a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who wants to be part of our great game.”
NIHL lead and EIHA director Andrew Miller added: “It’s no coincidence that we are sharing the date with the Elite League – it’s important for the sport as a whole to work together in combating discrimination in all its forms and show ice hockey matches are safe spaces for everyone to be themselves.
“The NIHL has had inclusivity written into its rules for over five years with Rule 8.1.4 stating that the NIHL is open to all players regardless of sex or gender expression. It’s great that our clubs can show that inclusiveness publicly at their Pride game.”