Cardiff Devils celebrate Pride Night in their jerseys. Credit: Cardiff Devils.

LGBT+ History Month: ‘The Devils are pioneers in their sport’

The Cardiff ice hockey team hopes for a win ahead of its annual Pride Night

CARDIFF Devils will take on Nottingham Panthers this Sunday while celebrating their fourth Pride Night to mark LGBT+ History Month.

The Devils first partnered up with the charity Pride Cymru in 2017. Pride Night came about following the You Can Play project set up in North America, which tries to ensure safety and inclusion in sport for LGBT+ players, managers and fans.

“We want to promote a discussion that being LGBT+ in ice hockey doesn’t matter and we want to create a safe inclusive environment,” said Katrina Williams, a Cardiff Devils spokesperson.

The Devils were one of the first teams in the UK to adopt a Pride Night and its popularity continues to grow.

“Each time we hold Pride night, the demand for tickets increases. This year we sold out all of our tickets within 72 hours,” said Ms Williams.

Taz the Cardiff Devils mascot wearing the Pride jersey last year. Credit: Cardiff Devils.

Pride Cymru’s Chair Gian Molinu said: “The Devils have been leaders in the sporting world in standing up for the rights of the LGBT+ community.

“The Devils back up their words with clear actions and take all forms of alleged discrimination seriously. They have been unwavering in their commitment.”

The team have a zero tolerance on drunken behaviour and foul language, including discriminatory language.

Ms Williams said: “We pride ourselves on providing a safe environment for everyone.

“Two years ago, we had a father and son attend Pride Night. The son then contacted us to say that it was the first sporting event that he was able to attend and actually feel safe at.”

Emily Louise, a dedicated Devils fan, said: “I have been to several hockey matches at the Cardiff Devil’s home and I have never felt safer inside a stadium.

“I think what the Devils do each year is magnificent. They show people that being gay is OK.”

The 30-year-old fan has been desperately trying to buy the new Pride jerseys, which fans have been wanting since the partnership began.

“I love the partnership between Pride Cymru and Cardiff Devils. It brings togetherness in the area and sporting community. There is no hate.

“Everyone welcomes each other and comes together for the love of the game. It really is wholesome,” said Emily Louise.

Throughout Pride Night, messages from the players will be on the screen explaining why it is important to encourage inclusivity in sport.

Cardiff Devils fans celebrating last year’s Pride Night. Credit: Cardiff Devils.

Devoted Devils fan Gary Bell, 36, said: “I think the Devils partnering with Pride Cymru is a great thing. Hockey bills itself as a sport for everyone and that message is reinforced by this partnership.

“I know Pride Night conveys the message that hockey is a safe space for all. In some other sports, this would not be the case.”

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continue to be present in the wider sporting world.

“You only have to look at how Fifa ignored LGBT+ people during the World Cup in Qatar,” said Pride Cymru’s chair,

“Luckily, the Devils’ Pride Night game is always at full capacity every year and the response of all Devils fans is so heartening to see. They are pioneers.”

During the match, the Devils will be launching the date of Pride Cymru’s annual Pride parade and will also be appealing for volunteers for the charity.

“We try to give out information across our social media channels to raise awareness of where LGBT+ people can go to for support if they need it.

“On the night, we will be handing out Pride stickers and also giving people the opportunity to get their face painted,” said Ms Williams.

  • The Devils, who are currently in second place in the Elite Ice Hockey League, will play sixth placed Nottingham Panthers at 6pm on Sunday, February 5.