EDMONTON – A new initiative to produce rainbow-coloured hockey tape surpassed its $54,000 goal Monday. The funds will be used to promote inclusion in sports for LGBTQ youth.
Specifically, the project will fund the making of Pride Tape for hockey teams, and eventually other sports teams.
Pride Tape met its original fundraising goal the day after the Oilers showed their support at Sunday’s skills competition. On the biggest single-day fundraising day, donors from all over the world contributed.
As of Jan. 25, more than $54,000 had been raised, thanks in part to donations from the Burke family.
“I would have loved for Brendan to see overwhelming signs of acceptance like Pride Tape when he was a young hockey player,” said Kerry Gilmore Burke, referring to her late son Brendan.
Brian Burke, Brendan’s father, is president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. Brendan’s brother Patrick Burke is co-founder of the You Can Play Project.
“It is so important for kids to see visual displays and hear positive words of encouragement and to feel that sense of confidence that comes when you are supported,” Kerry went on.
“To give that opportunity to other LGBTQ hockey players out there makes supporting Pride Tape an obvious choice for our family.
“We hope young athletes everywhere are inspired by the message of caring for each other and being good team mates and people,” Kerry said.
Pride Tape is the brainchild of the University of Alberta’s Sexual Minority Studies and Services.
“We’re hoping that Pride Tape will be (an) active and tangible, visible source of support (for) LGBTQ youth to know that they’re welcome, they’re fully included and they can feel safe playing hockey no matter what level,” Dr. Kristopher Wells, University of Alberta, said.
Ten-thousand rolls of tape will be manufactured in the first run.
“Pride Tape becomes that badge of support for LGBTQ youth where allies can signal their support for inclusiveness and human rights,” Wells said.
The goal for Wells is to use proceeds from Pride Tape to support LGBTQ youth outreach initiatives, such as the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services and the You Can Play Project.
A promotional campaign produced by Global News was launched in December, which includes a television commercial featuring Edmonton Oiler Andrew Ference.
“The time is now that no young person should have to go to a hockey rink and have to wonder whether they’re going to be supported for being themselves,” Wells explained.
Funding for the manufacturing of Pride Tape has been taking place through Kickstarter. Those looking to support the cause can go to PrideTape.com to contribute.
READ MORE: Oilers use Pride Tape at skills competition
On Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers became the first NHL team to use Pride Tape on the ice.
The hockey team used the tape during their annual Skills Competition on Sunday. There is no word on whether it will be allowed in every-day play.
More than 1,000 people have supported the fundraising campaign so far. The campaign will continue for nine more days.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on Jan. 5 and was updated when the goal was reached Jan. 25.