Gay 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.