MANNY MALHOTRA OF the Vancouver Canucks will march in the city’s 2012 pride parade this Sunday.
The forward will be joined by players from the Vancouver Cutting Edges, billed as ‘the only gay hockey club’ in Western Canada.
According to tsn.ca, the Canucks’ centre is the third professional hockey player to participate in Pride events this year under the You Can Play banner.
Tommy Wingels of the San Jose Sharks and Vincent LoVerde, of the Ontario Reign, marched in Chicago on 24 June.
Malhotra joins Canucks teammates Ryan Kesler, and the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, in lending his name and efforts to You Can Play, an organisation that seeks to eliminate homophobia in sports.
Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson at the 2011 parade. (AP Photo/Darryl Dyck)
More than 700,000 people attended the pride parade in Vancouver last year and the city’s Mayor, Gregor Robertson marched in a tie-dye rainbow shirt.
Speaking on Wednesday, Malhotra said, “It’s paramount that equality in sport, and beyond, becomes the norm.” He added:
Everybody has the right to play the game they love.
“I am excited to share this message of equality and show my support this Sunday.”
Patrick Burke, a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers, will also march in the parade. He noted that Vancouver has ‘a wonderful LGBT community and a passionate hockey community’.
“We are thrilled to see the Canucks working to bring those two groups closer together,” Burke said.
Having a well-respected warrior in Manny stand up along with Henrik, Daniel, Ryan, and dozens of other NHLers around the League gives hope to young LGBT hockey players everywhere.
Vancouver Pride gets underway at noon on Sunday, 5 August with highlights including a youth dancing competition, live music and more than 150 floats.
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