Belfast Giants announce plans for first ever 'You Can Play' night
The Belfast Giants have revealed their plans for their first ever 'You Can Play' night at the end of the month.
The special event will take place on Saturday, January 25 when the Giants take on the Glasgow Clan at the SSE Arena and will be part of the Elite League's first ever Pride Weekend.
The event will be similar to the NHL's 'Hockey Is For Everyone' games, which promote inclusivity within sport for all, regardless of age, gender, sexuality or race.
As part of the event, the Giants will wear special jerseys for the game, which will be predominantly black but will have a Giants logo on the front in rainbow colours.
The collars will have rainbow trim, while the players' names and numbers on the back of the jerseys will also be in rainbow.
The Giants have long been pioneers of inclusivity, welcoming fans from all walks of life and across all political divides from their first season right up until the present day.
The club's mantra says "In the land of the Giants, everyone is equal", and that will be on the front of the special 'You Can Play' jerseys, with 'Game For All, Game For Anyone' on the back.
"You Can Play is proud to be a part of the Elite Ice Hockey League’s ongoing work to promote inclusion in and around the sport of hockey," said Ryan Pettingill, executive director of You Can Play.
"The EIHL and You Can Play partnership sends an important message to athletes, coaches, and fans throughout the UK and beyond about how important this work is in creating a safe and healthy sport culture for all."
All of the jerseys will be auctioned off after the game in the Giants' usual Shirt Off The Back promotion, however, in keeping with the weekend, the proceeds raised by it will be given to the Junior Belfast Giants to promote the work they are doing.
The Junior Giants have had excellent success this season, with players Carter Hamill and Mack Stewart currently in Lausanne representing Great Britain at the Youth Olympics.
Kaitlyn Morrison and Ellie Patrick, who also play for the Junior Giants, have been named to age-grade GB squads, with Morrison recently playing at the Division 1B World Championships.
"The Junior Belfast Giants are thrilled to have the support of their Belfast Giants heroes in getting more young players involved in ice hockey in Northern Ireland," said Junior Giants head coach and Belfast Giants assistant coach Rob Stewart.
"The recent success of our Junior Belfast Giants players with junior national teams is testament to the hard work and dedication they have put into their sport.
"The proceeds from the jersey raffle will be used to provide essential hockey equipment and ice time that will allow a new generation of players to join and continue playing ice hockey in Northern Ireland.
"The Junior Belfast Giants are open to all young players regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender and/or sexuality."
The Giants will also be part of the Guildford Flames' 'You Can Play' night when they travel to the Guildford Spectrum on Sunday, January 26.
Every team across the league will host a 'You Can Play' night on the weekend of the 24-26 January as part of the Elite League's initiative to promote inclusivity in ice hockey.
Belfast Telegraph Digital