The Buffalo Sabres will host "You Can Play Night" on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at KeyBank Center. The You Can Play Project was founded to advocate for inclusion, acceptance and respect of LGBTQ athletes in sports. The event will run in conjunction with the NHL's "Hockey is for Everyone" month.
"We are proud and honored to be working with the Buffalo Sabres to promote respect for LGBTQ players and fans in New York and worldwide," said Wade Davis, director of professional sports outreach for You Can Play. "This Sabres 'You Can Play' game shows that hockey really is for everyone, and that in the NHL - if you can play, you can play."
There will be many events taking place throughout the night. Gay & Lesbian Youth Services and the Pride Center of WNY will have tables set up in the 100 Level pavilion prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks. The Buffalo Sabres Foundation will also be donating $5,000 to both the Gay & Lesbian Youth Services and the Pride Center of WNY.
Some Sabres players will be using pride tape on their sticks during pregame warm-ups in support of the evening. Each stick will be auctioned online at sabres.com/auctions beginning at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. Proceeds from the auction, which ends at 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, will benefit You Can Play.
"As part of the NHL's 'Hockey Is For Everyone' month, we are very pleased to host our inaugural 'You Can Play Night' to promote inclusion, respect and support for all members of our community," said Michael Gilbert, vice president of administration for the Sabres "We are proud to work with the You Can Play Project and local LGBTQ organizations to show that everyone is welcome in our sport, our building and our community."
A PSA in support of the You Can Play Project featuring Brian Gionta, Ryan O'Reilly, Anders Nilsson and Dan Bylsma will be shown in the arena during the game. A video feature on Harrison Browne, a forward for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL, will also be played on the videoboard. Following the game, LGBTQ youth will have the opportunity to meet Sabres players.