The Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers squared off in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday night, but earlier this week Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference made headlines when he announced his plans to march in the Edmonton Pride Parade, coming up Saturday.
Ference will represent the You Can Play campaign, which has partnered with the University of Alberta's Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services. You Can Play works to discourage discrimination and enhance equality among athletes at all levels. Ference will march with the University of Alberta's Camp fYrefly youth leadership program.
"You Can Play has fundamentally changed the way the NHL players think and act,” Ference said. “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."
Several NHL figures have taken LGBT-supportive in recent years. In 2010, former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel escorted the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Pride parade in honor of Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s gay son, Brendan. Brendan was killed in a car accident earlier that year, not long after coming out to his Miami University hockey teammates. Former Ranger Sean Avery has been a vocal ally of the LGBT community and in 2011 publicly lobbied for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State.
As for the game, the Kings defeated the Rangers in overtime and lead the finals series 1-0.