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Sabres' 'Hockey is for Everyone' Night is tonight

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Thu, Feb 7th 2019 04:35 pm

The Buffalo Sabres will host “Hockey is for Everyone” Night today at KeyBank Center when the Sabres host the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. February is the NHL’s annual “Hockey is for Everyone” month, which promotes the inclusion of players, coaches and fans of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and those with disabilities.

“Our organization is happy to once again partner with the NHL during ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ month,” said Sabres Vice President of Community Relations Rich Jureller. “We are proud of the initiatives that we have in place to promote diversity in hockey. Not only this game, but the entire season, gives us a chance to recognize programs throughout Western New York that embody the ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ values as we continue to grow the game of hockey on both a local and national level.”

There will be several activities taking place throughout the night, including the “You Can Play Project,” which advocates for the inclusion, acceptance and respect of LGBTQ athletes in sports. Players will use Pride Tape on their sticks during pregame warm-ups in support of the evening. Sticks will be auctioned off on Sabres.com/Auctions from Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. to Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. Proceeds from the auction will benefit The Pride Center of Western New York and Gay and Lesbian Services of Western New York. There will also be Sabres pride T-shirts available for purchase at the Sabres Store. Additionally, The Pride Center of WNY and Gay and Lesbian Youth Services and The Varsity Gay League will have informational tables on the 100 level.

Students from Leonardo Da Vinci High School Gay Straight Alliance will be on hand for the Sabres’ tilt against the Hurricanes. The group won the “You Can Play WNY” video contest and was awarded with a suite for the game and gold carpet passes.

The team, as well as Sabres captain Jack Eichel, will host groups that represent the “Hockey is for Everyone” philosophy: Hasek’s Heroes, Buffalo Sabres Thunder Special Hockey Team, SABAH, and the Buffalo Sabres Warriors Sled and Stand-Up hockey teams.

Prior to the game, Sabres alumnus Cody McCormick and Buffalo Beauts forward Kelly Babstock will host a hockey clinic at the Cazenovia Ice Rink with Hasek’s Heroes for the Cattaraugus Community Center. McCormick and Babstock have been working to promote the game of hockey to Native American and First People’s groups in Western New York and throughout North America.

The Sabres will also be promoting several initiatives in conjunction with Black History Month. Buffalo Sabres alumnus Val James, the first African-American to play in the NHL, will be joined by the Emerging Philanthropists of Color in Eichel’s suite for the Sabres’ game against the Hurricanes. Additionally, Buffalo Beauts defenseman Blake Bolden, the first African-American player in the NWHL, will attend the Sabres’ Feb. 15 game against the New York Rangers in Eichel’s suite with the Young Philanthropists group from the Communities of Giving Legacy. The group will also attend the Beauts game against the Metropolitan Riveters on Feb. 23, followed by a meet-and greet-with Bolden.

As part of the “Hockey is for Everyone” Initiative, the Buffalo Sabres have or will be hosting clinics, practices and open skates with the Buffalo Sabres Thunder Special Hockey Team, Hasek’s Heroes, SABAH and the Buffalo Sabres Warriors hockey teams with current and past players in attendance.

The Buffalo Sabres Foundation mission statement reads, “To identify and support local organizations which share our core objectives: serving children and military personnel, caring for the sick, assisting physically and mentally challenged athletes, and supporting youth hockey initiatives. By utilizing financial resources and community influence, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation assists these organizations and their beneficiaries in realizing their highest potential and succeeding in their endeavors.”

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