Brent Sopel will bring Stanley Cup to Chicago Pride Parade


sopelwithcup.jpgGay rights have been coming up in hockey talk more than ever the last few years, especially during the 2009-10 season. Sadly, one of the biggest stories involved the death of Brian Burke’s son, Brendan. Still, there are some bright spots too; take, for instance, the fact that Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel will appear with the Stanley Cup in tow during Sunday’s Chicago Pride Parade.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that the Chicago Gay Hockey Association contacted the Blackhawks on a whim, not expecting to get a positive response. Naturally, that attempt ended up yielding a great result for gay rights and the sport of hockey.

Last week, the Chicago Gay Hockey Association issued an invite to the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup to join them at the parade.

They were hopeful, but “we know the realistic chances of them joining us for the Pride Parade are slim,” CGHA President Andrew Sobotka told Sneed last week.

It was a different story Monday, when Sneed delivered the news. “We are thrilled and honored for them to consider and accept our request,” said Sobotka. “It’s just the news we wanted to hear. For the Blackhawks to do this is amazing. It is wonderful to know everyone is helping to make 2010 a year to break down barriers.”

Brian Burke is also planning on marching during the event.

To be fair, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the only team who will be involved in the parade. Michael Sneed reports that the Chicago Cubs plan on sponsoring a float featuring all-time great Cub Ernie Banks.

It’s great to see these teams get involved in the parade. Hopefully this is a sign that the future is bright for tolerance in sports.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.