KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Wings are painting the rink rainbow for the game on Friday, a promotion celebrating LGBTQ inclusion in hockey.
It’s the second Rainbow Ice and Pride Night event, as the K-Wings take on the Toledo Walleye at the Wings Event Center.
The K-Wings are known to color the ice for various causes throughout the regular season. Last year’s introduction of the rainbow flag painted on the rink was a first.
Along with players wearing specialty jerseys, the goal posts and hockey stick tape will feature rainbow colors and the music played in-house will be LGBTQ focused.
General manager Toni Will and head coach Joel Martin said this helps reinforce their commitment to include everyone and normalize such conversations through the sport of hockey and its community.
“There are so many things that fall under this, race, gender, religion,” Will said. “We’re going to keep going and continuing to break down those barriers and have those tough conversations.”
“I think also for our group too in trying to make change in our game, where it’s not the ‘female GM’ or the ‘Black head coach’ or the ‘gay hockey player.’ It’s ‘the coach,’ ‘the GM,’ ‘the hockey player,’ no matter what your background is, your race, religion, sexual orientation or gender,” Martin said.
After tomorrow night, the K-Wings will wear the specialty jerseys one more time, for the Feb. 4 Hockey For Her game, which will aim to encourage local girls and women to get involved in the sport. Proceeds from the jersey auctions after the game will go towards OutFront Kalamazoo.
Tickets for Friday’s game, which starts at 7 p.m., can be purchased at kwings.com.