OHIO Hockey has teamed up with the “You Can Play” organization and the Ohio University LGBT Center for the Jackie O’s Weekend Hockey series on Nov. 3 and 4 against Davenport University. “You Can Play” works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports – including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans.
The Jackie O’s weekend series will feature rainbow “Pride Tape” for the players, opening puck drop ceremonies and “You Can Play” signage throughout Bird Arena. The “You Can Play” initiative works closely with the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone Project,” which focuses on raising awareness toward LGBTQ, ethnicity and gender equality.
“We are very pleased to partner with ‘You Can Play’ and the LGBT Center,” stated Head Coach Sean Hogan. “For us, it is simple. If you can play, you can play.”
Ten-year OHIO Hockey volunteer and Public Address Announcer Jacob Jakuszeit added, “Everyone knows OHIO Hockey has a winning tradition and that Bird Arena is a historic facility that welcomes all.”
He continued, “LGBT folks have certainly been part of the Bobcat Hockey family for years, and today the team declares out loud that any talented and dedicated athlete is welcome on the team. Being a Bobcat is about how you play and how you treat others. I’m proud to be part of an organization that includes.”
delfin bautista*, director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University, is also pleased with the partnership. "It’s exciting that OHIO Hockey is participating in the ‘You Can Play’ campaign. It reflects a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and that what matters is one’s ability to play the game.” He continued, “If you can shoot the puck or block a shot, that is what matters. I am proud that OHIO Hockey is making sure that all can proudly play.”
bautista concluded, “Athletic spaces have not always been the most welcoming to LGBTQ folks. This partnership between OHIO Hockey and the LGBT Center is a reflection of the changes happening within sports by acknowledging and affirming LGBTQ athletes and welcoming the participation of LGBTQ folks as both athletes and fans.”
Tickets for the “You Can Play” weekend series are available online at www.ohiobobcatshockey.com and at the Bird Arena box office the week starting Oct. 30.
This article was provided by OHIO Hockey.
Editor’s Note: delfin prefers the lowercase form of their name and gender neutral pronouns.