Manchester Storm took to the ice for their weekend double-header wearing a rainbow-style version of their home kit. It was part of an Elite Ice Hockey League(EIHL) initiative which saw all ice hockey’s top flight pledge their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The jerseys have now been put up for auction with a starting price of £200 to raise money for the Manchester Pride charity.
Manchester Pride’s Marketing Manager, Lizzy Holroyd said: “It’s great that Storm wanted to make a meaningful contribution to LGBTQ+ communities in Greater Manchester while also raising awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion in ice hockey.”
The jerseys saw the Storm beat Glasgow Clan 7:3 on Sunday. However, they narrowly fell down to Coventry Blaze 4:3 at the Storm Shelter Arena in Altrincham. “I attended the match against Coventry Blaze on Saturday and received a warm welcome from everyone in the Storm Shelter, it’s great to see so many fans wearing the Pride jerseys,” added Lizzy.
This campaign is even more significant to the Manchester Storm because of their forward Zach Sullivan, who came out as bisexual prior to the first Pride Weekend in 2020.
In a Twitter post back in 2020, Sullivan said: “I have battled with mental health problems over this issue and with the support, understanding and acceptance from my family, friends and teammates, I finally feel ready to say; I’m bisexual.”
Sullivan has said that thanks to the campaign he felt ready to talk about what ‘he has known for years’.
“We would love to keep working with Storm, we’ve collaborated for a few years now, previously spotlighting Zach who spoke about his experience of being an openly bisexual player. It shows that sport and hockey is for everyone,” added Lizzy Holroyd.
Over the weekend Storm Shelter (aka Planet Ice) welcomed almost 3,500 fans who were also able to take part in Saturday’s ‘Skate With The Storm’ event where fans could take pictures with players or get merchandise signed by their heroes.
“We’ve been proud to continue celebrating the Pride message for two more seasons since the pandemic,” said EIHL Media & Communications Manager Luke Fisher.