All 31 teams in the National Hockey League are expected to recognize the “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative during the 2019-20 season in order to “drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.” But the St. Louis Blues won’t be in St. Louis for their HIFE celebration on March 24, as they will be 900 miles away, playing a game against the Washington Capitals.
Instead, Blues fans can instead attend a “Hockey is for Everyone Celebration and Watch Party” at Enterprise Center for the cost of $10 per person. Those in attendance “will have the best view in the city as they watch the game on the center-hung scoreboard in a home-game-like atmosphere.”
The Blues are going to have to do a lot more than just talk the talk if they expect to convince the members of any minority community that they’re included in the Blues’ definition of “everyone.” A “home-game-like atmosphere” is not a home game. St. Louis fans who have the “best view in the city” will still have worse views than any seat in Capital One Arena, since, in St. Louis, they’ll be craning their necks to see the game on the scoreboard, instead of watching their home team play on their home ice. A real commitment to diversity requires actual work, not empty gestures.
The event is an insult to the fans it’s meant to welcome.
Pride STL–St. Louis’s Pride Parade organizers–has partnered with the Blues for the past three years to host Pride Night. When the 2019-20 season and special event schedule was made public, Pride STL released a statement about their disappointment in the now-Stanley Cup-winning franchise.
“Following a historic championship season, the Blues praised their fan base as key motivators for their success,” Pride STL wrote, as reported by @MoeErrett writing for St. Louis Game Time. “In choosing to take away a night that openly welcomes our community sends a clear message that the LGBTQIA+ community is not a valued member of that fan base.”
Join us as we celebrate inclusion and social change through Hockey is for Everyone! Fans are invited to the Hockey is for Everyone Celebration and Watch Party at Enterprise Center on March 24 to watch the Blues as they take on the Capitals in Washington. Fans will have the best view in the city as they watch the game on the center-hung scoreboard in a home-game-like atmosphere.
Doors will open at 5 p.m., and fans can expect
- Full in-game production including opening videos, goal celebrations, etc.
- Intermission games highlighting Hockey is for Everyone
- Live Music
- Inflatables and Lawn Games
- Hockey is for Everyone concourse activation including a photo opportunity with Barclay, the Blues Duo Dog in training
- Happy Hour specially-priced food & beverage items
- And more!
No information is provided regarding where the proceeds from the $10 tickets will be going. Typically, teams raise funds for You Can Play, local LGBTQ+ groups, or other community efforts that support minorities. The Blues are, in a roundabout, convoluted, close-but-no-cigar fashion, kind of “giving back” through group ticket sales. If an organization purchases group tickets through the St. Louis Blues, they “can earn $5 per ticket sold for their organization.”
Often the most coveted and highest-grossing items at HIFE auctions and fundraisers are sticks used by players during warmups that are wrapped in Pride Tape. Obviously, the Blues won’t be able to get their sticks back to St. Louis in time for an in-game auction, but perhaps the Capitals equipment staff could still supply some Pride Tape for the visitors’ locker room.
In August, Pride STL wrote that they “hope the Saint Louis Blues decide to reconsider their decision and are proactive in supporting a community which has historically supported them,” and that they “look forward to engaging in a conversation to ensure that all members of the Saint Louis Blues fan base feel included.”
If the Blues actually want minority members of their fanbase to feel welcome, they better enter the conversation soon and start talking.
S/T to @tbxrrie
Headline photo: mark6mauno
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