A question we get a lot here is “What’s it like to be a gay hockey fan?”
We’re never quite sure what people expect the answer to be. Are they curious if it’s hard, if we feel ostracized or just not quite the same as everyone else, if we just don’t fit in? We rarely have a snappy answer at the ready.
From now on, however, I think I’ll just refer them to the 2016 DC Pride Parade. I’ll tell them how everyone – absolutely everyone – associated with the Washington Capitals were on hand, smiling and joking and looking so damn happy to be there. I’ll tell them how the thousands – tens of thousands easily – in the crowds were screaming the heads off, yelling and clapping and high-fiving those of us in the parade. How Braden and Brandi Holtby were tirelessly working the sideline, shaking hands, stopping for selfies, and hugging countless Caps fans. In 95 degree heat, no less.
I’ll tell them how everyone there – Wes, the Rockers, management types, You Can Play reps, and especially poor Slapshot in what must have been a suffocating costume, marched in a surprisingly tiring parade and never complained once. Far from it: they were there for Caps fans and non-fans alike, throwing beads and slapping hands with Washingtonians anywhere on the spectrum of sexuality.
And I’ll tell them how overwhelming it all was, to be stuck somewhere in the middle, walking with a rainbow-taped hockey stick with a Caps flag attached that the wind would pick up and fly proudly, sending the attendees into peals of “C-A-P-S, CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!”, just the same as any game at Verizon. Don’t take our word for it; just check out the pictures below.
Or, when asked “What’s it like to be a gay hockey fan?”, I can say “Exactly what it’s like to be a hockey fan.”