Braden Holtby once again showed his support for equality in sports and the LGBTQ community on Saturday as he participated in the 2019 Capital Pride Parade in DC on Saturday. This is the third year that the Capitals starting goaltender has participated in the parade.
Hundreds of thousands of participants lined the streets of DC as the parade wound from Dupont Circle to U Street. Holtby tossed pride-themed Capitals shirts and beads from the Monumental Sports & Entertainment-sponsored float, joined by members of You Can Play and Monumental employees carrying rainbow-painted Weagles. Caps in-game announcer Wes Johnson and Caps anthem singer, Bob McDonald, also walked in the parade.
Holtby hopped off the float to give hugs and high-fives to the crowd along the parade route, many of whom broke out in chants of “Let’s go Caps”. Holtby and his wife Brandi sought out one fan along the route who had created a t-shirt using the couple’s photo in front of a rainbow Caps mural.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 8, 2019
“The first year that we were able to do it, you could tell the joy and the change it can bring,” Holtby said. “We just want to do our part. The thing that I’m most proud of is our team and Monumental are here beside us showing their support and trying to teach the younger generation about what we believe in.”
Holtby has been named the Capitals LGBTQ-inclusion ambassador by the NHL for three consecutive years and serves as a leader in the locker room and community to educate on diversity, equality, and inclusion. Holtby received the DC Pride Ally Award for his work in LGBTQ visibility in hockey in 2017 and spoke at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2018.
But Holtby’s work is not done. Just take a look at some of the comments on the Capitals social media pages and you’ll see that there are plenty of people who are upset or threatened by Holtby’s leadership in LGBTQ acceptance.
Holtby said that those naysayers are part of why it was important for him to be at the parade. In his role as one of DC’s most celebrated and recognizable athletes, he said he hopes that he can help people realize that, no matter what, “there are people here who understand.”
“There shouldn’t be a time in today’s world where you should be hidden away and not be able to be yourself,” Holtby said. “I think us, and the organization, and Monumental and the Caps being here is hopefully shows people the way and improves peoples’ lives.”
“Even if you can change one or two lives, it’s worth it. Hopefully, we can do that,” Holtby said.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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