Edmonton Oilers Captain Andrew Ference will be marching in the Edmonton Pride Parade in support of the You Can Play team and the University of Alberta’s Camp fYrefly youth leadership program.
In doing so, Ference will become the first professional hockey player in Edomonton to march in the annual parade.
“You Can Play has fundamentally changed the way the NHL players think and act. We understand the important role we can play in ending discrimination within sports and society and I feel honored to be able participate in events with them and Camp fYrefly including Edmonton’s Pride Parade,” Ference said. “When we work, play and live together without discrimination it makes our entire community stronger and more productive.”
Ference also mentioned that LGBT youth need to know that there is support for them on the pro level.
NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, has long been in support of the cause and encourages NHL athletes to be active in such events.
“Young athletes everywhere look up to National Hockey League players as leaders on inclusion,” Bettman said. “Our players, our Clubs and every member of the NHL family will strive to support important initiatives such as You Can Play in our local communities and around the world.”
Patrick Burke, president of You Can Play, is thankful for the support of the Oilers captain.
“We are grateful for Andrew’s relentless support for You Can Play and the ideals we work to instill in sports,” Burke said. “Bringing professional athletes together with LGBTQ youth benefits everyone; the athletes, the young people, the University of Alberta and the city of Edmonton. We look forward to celebrating inclusion and acceptance with everyone during Pride.”