How the Carolina Hurricanes Can Make a Difference During Pride Month

The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate Pride Month

Here’s how the Carolina Hurricanes can continue to spearhead the Hockey is for Everyone Initiative with their excellent social media team during Pride Month.

In addition to excellent hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes have become known for their activism for the LGBTQ community spearheaded by the best social media team in the National Hockey League. It seems like lately the social media team can’t miss, and I started paying special attention to the Canes’ Twitter page during the Pride Night against the Colorado Avalanche on February 28, 2020.

In addition to a fantastic picture of PNC Arena lit up with pride colors, what stuck with me was a Tweet in which the Hurricanes social media team asked their fans to explain why Pride Night is important to them.

Asking this question and providing a forum for answers is vital to the organization’s engagement with fans, but even more impressive to me was the fact that the social media team replied to almost every comment with positive encouragement and affirmation that the commenters were always welcome to the Canes.

Although it may be a cliche, talk can absolutely be cheap. While each NHL team participates in pride month initiatives like changing their social media profile picture, the fact that the Canes engaged with their fans is so important to the hockey community.

The Canes have participated heavily in the pride affiliated Hockey is for Everyone initiatives the past few years. Nikki Stoudt, writing for NHL.com, detailed the events the Canes led during the month of February in 2018.

One highlight of the various events of the month was the “You Can Play Night” on February 9th, after which sticks taped with pride tape were auctioned off with proceeds going to the You Can Play Project.

Another vital aspect of the Hurricanes’ engagement with the LGBTQ community is the Community Initiatives which are listed on the team’s website.  Communication with fans is important, but participation with fans in programs committed to diversity and inclusion is the other half of that important picture.

In addition to the aforementioned You Can Play Night, the Canes also support the Capital City Crew, the Triangle Special Hockey Association, and Sled Hockey. Each of these organizations “work to ensure safety and inclusion”, and a “focus on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit, not their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”

Trevor van Riemsdyk has been selected to be the Carolina Hurricanes’ Hockey is for Everyone Ambassador for the 2019-2020 season after serving the same position for the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2016-2017 season. Riemsdyk joins the ranks of ambassadors such as former Canes’ netminder Eddie Lack.

Unfortunately, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Twitter account has been quiet for Pride Month in June. Of course, there is no room for traditional events due to Covid-19; however, I hope that these events will be made up in the future.

The social media team is not able to create traditional content with the pause of the season. That is why this is the perfect time to talk about Pride month and what it means to the team and the community.

While content may look different, there are still several ways the social media team can show support for pride month. Clips from players talking about Pride month and video packages discussing the history of the supported organizations are two social media initiatives that come to mind that would be apt right now.

While the hockey world is reeling from Covid-19, now is the time to emphasize that Hockey is for everyone and work towards that goal. Fans of hockey should come together for their love of the game and strengthened instead of divided by their differences. Happy Pride month Caniacs, support the LGBTQ community!

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