AUSTRALIA will hold its first ever ice hockey pride match this weekend, in multiple clashes that will see all national ice hockey teams play pride games to champion LGBTI rights.

The Melbourne Mustangs in particular will don rainbow jerseys and square off against reigning premiers the Newcastle Northstars, while the Sydney Bears will pitted against Melbourne Ice and Adelaide Adrenaline against CBR Brave.

Melbourne Mustangs Pride Game Ambassador, Damien Bright, said he’s proud to part of a team that promotes equality for everyone.

“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,” he said.

The game follows the success of the AFL’s Pride Game, which will also be held this weekend.

Game day activities will focus on educating punters and removing homophobic language from the game.

Victoria’s gender and sexuality commissioner Ro Allen will walk out on a red carpet over the ice to do the ceremonial puck drop.

“For many people, sport is a key part of health and wellbeing and community involvement,” Allen said.

“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.”

National Director of Amnesty International Australia, Claire Mallinson, added that 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,” she said.

CEO of Proud 2 Play, James Lolicato also highlighted some alarming statistics around LGBTI participation in sport.

“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,” he said.

“We need to do all we can to make sport a safer environment for all, no matter their gender or sexuality.”

The pride matches this weekend are a partnership with Amnesty International, Proud 2 Play, and Team Melbourne.

 

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