The Columbus Blue Jackets will celebrate diversity and inclusion in the sport with Hockey Is For Everyone Night, presented by Vorys, when the Jackets host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, February 10 at 7 p.m. The evening will be highlighted by themed recognitions, fundraisers and a giveaway of Hockey Is For Everyone silicone bracelets, courtesy of Vorys, to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
The Blue Jackets will highlight diversity among hockey participants with an on-ice, introduction of players representing a variety of programs including Blue Jackets Hockey League (BJHL), Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), CCYHA Special Hockey (athletes with special needs), Central Ohio Girl’s Hockey (COGH), Central Ohio Gay Lesbian Ally Hockey Association, Chiller Adult Hockey League (CAHL), Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA), Columbus Ice Hockey Club (CIHC), Ohio High School Athletic Association, Ohio AAA Blue Jackets – Girls Development Program, Ohio Sled Hockey (athletes with physical disabilities), and Ohio Warriors Sled Hockey (veterans with physical disabilities).
The evening’s Military Honoree, presented by Elk + Elk, will recognize World War II veteran and LGBTQIA+ activist, Rupert “Twink” Starr. The 100-year-old Army veteran earned a Bronze Star for his bravery during the Battle of the Bulge and has been a prominent figure in the LGBTQIA+ community in Columbus and nationwide since appearing in the documentary film “Courage Under Fire” by Patrick Sammon. The film advocated for the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. He will be featured during the National Anthem and recognized in-game.
During the first intermission, Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) Special Hockey will take the ice along with Ohio Sled Hockey (OSH). CCYHA and OSH provide children and adults who have developmental disabilities with the opportunity to play ice hockey in an environment adapted to each athlete’s level of physical and mental ability.
During the second intermission, representatives from the Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Therapeutic Recreation division and the CIHC Blind hockey team will be featured on the ice. Blind Hockey is adapted for those with visual impairments and is played with a specialized puck that makes noise and is larger and slower than a traditional puck.
To recognize and support members of the blind hockey community, Vorys will donate $10,000 to the CIHC Blind Hockey team. The donation will help facilitate the team’s trip to the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival taking place in March and April in St. Louis. The donation will also provide funds to support the program’s equipment needs.
Members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community are invited to join us in a celebration of Pride with a special ticket offer that includes a CBJ Pride-themed koozie, a pregame happy hour, and the chance to win cool prizes such as a HIFE jersey. A portion of each ticket will be donated to Stonewall Columbus to support their mission to increase visibility, inclusion, and connection for the LGBTQIA+ community. To purchase a Celebration of Pride ticket, visit www.BlueJackets.com/pride.
During pregame warmups, Blue Jackets players will wear Hockey Is For Everyone jerseys that will be autographed and available via a raffle through the Blue Jackets Foundation. In addition, fans will have an opportunity to bid on player-signed sticks bearing rainbow-colored pride tape in support the LGBTQIA+ community with proceeds benefitting the Kaleidoscope Youth Center which serves and supports LGBTQIA+ young people. Fans can text CBJAUCTION to 76278 or visit cbjauction.givesmart.com to participate. In addition, a limited number of Hockey is For Everyone Night pucks and “WE STAND TOGETHER” t-shirts will be on sale at the Blue Jackets Foundation kiosk, located near sections 110-111 on the main concourse.
Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the featured organizations on the concourse throughout the game. To learn more about Hockey Is For Everyone or to purchase tickets, visit www.BlueJackets.com/HIFENight.