The tale of the tape

Canada’s national sport gets a rainbow-colored makeover that unites ‘hockey & human rights’

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Dr. Kristopher Wells

According to Kris Wells, Canada is known for two things: “hockey and human     rights.”

If that’s true, he has reason to be proud. He’s a creator of Pride Tape, a new product that wraps those two things together. And it’s taking his country by storm.

Kris Wells — more formally Dr. Kristopher Wells — is an assistant professor of education at the University of Alberta. The Edmonton native also serves as faculty director of the school’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (ISMSS).

One of the institute’s research projects tracked the use of “casual homophobia” on Twitter. The enormous prevalence of words and phrases like “faggot” and “no homo” led Wells, his colleagues and students to wonder how they could raise awareness of harmful language, and reduce it.

“Schools and sports are the last two areas of institutionalized homophobia and transphobia,” Wells says. “That’s why we’ve partnered with the You Can Play Project,” the organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation, co-founded by National Hockey League executive Patrick Burke.

But, Wells continues, “there is still not one out NHL player. They’re role models for so many people. We wanted to find a way to get them involved in the dialogue.”

During the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the Russian government’s anti-gay propaganda law sparked a backlash by human rights activists. Rainbow flags flew all over the city, in a show of solidarity with LGBT athletes and spectators.

Those six colors — universally recognized as symbols of gay Pride, and support of LGBT issues — also appeared on t-shirts and souvenirs. Now, thanks to Wells and the ISMSS, they’ll be wrapped around hockey sticks all over the country.

Tape is ubiquitous in the sport. Players use it to better grip a stick; to protect the stick from wear and damage, and to impart more spin on shots and passes. For decades, it’s come in only two colors: white and black.

Now there’s also red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

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Pride Tape

“This is a way for teams to signal support to kids at rinks everywhere,” Wells says. “Research shows that LGBT youth are less likely to participate in team sports, because of the homophobic culture of the locker room. The higher the level of play, the more hypermasculine the environment. Rainbow-colored tape is a badge of support to LGBT youth, which everyone can see. These six colors can change the hockey world.”

Edmonton is a natural birthplace for Pride Tape. Two years ago Andrew Ference — captain of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins — was traded to the Oilers. He’d been involved with You Can Play, and asked Wells how to stay involved in his new city. That June, when he marched with the Camp fYrefly youth group, he became the first captain of any professional sport to participate in a Gay Pride parade.

Last year, Ference was joined by Oilers’ goaltender Ben Scrivens (traded last month to the Montreal Canadiens), and Scrivens’ wife Jenny, also a professional goaltender.

The tape was created by Calder Bateman, an Edmonton marketing, design and brand management agency. Creative director Jeff McLean says, “Unfortunately, too often sports remains a holdout in creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth.
That’s why I feel strongly about the ongoing relationship we have” with the ISMSS.

Getting Pride Tape to market was not as easy as slapping a rainbow on cloth, however. Professionals demand high-grade tape, and blending six colors proved difficult.

The manufacturer also had a minimum run: 10,000 rolls. The cost is nearly $40,000. (A Kickstarter campaign ended last month, but you can check it out at PrideTape.com.)

Wells is confident the goal will be reached. Five thousand rolls of tape will be given to minor league professional hockey teams (hopefully NHL squads, too). Other rolls will go to backers who contributed $30 or more. The tape will also be sold to the public. Proceeds will be split between ISMSS and You Can Play.

Pride Tape has received strong press coverage. A nationwide multimedia campaign was launched in mid-December. Every major television network provided free spots for a commercial featuring Ference (and produced gratis) by Global. In addition, NewAD contributed space for printed materials in restaurants and bars across the country.

Feedback has been powerful. Email and letter writers say that seeing rainbow tape when they were younger would have made a major difference in their lives. One man wrote, “This could have kept me playing.”

As Wells prepares for a national rollout of Pride Tape, he’s already looking ahead. Tape is used on tennis racquets, baseball bats, lacrosse sticks — even on socks — for nearly every sport. Soon, rainbow tape might be as ubiquitous as the rainbow flag.

— Dan Woog

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Houston Aeros’ Justin Fontaine suspended for anti-gay tweet

Justin Fontaine

Houston’s American Hockey League team, the Aeros, has suspended player Justin Fontaine for two games after a homophobic tweet from the right winger.

The suspension was handed down from the Aeros’ parent NHL team the Minnesota Wild, who issued a press statement apologizing for Fontaine’s “inappropriate” comment.

Fontaine has since removed the offending tweet and tweeted an apology, saying “Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more.” Missing from Fontaine’s apology was any recognition that it is cruel to use a term for queer people to deride something.

The issue is not that Fontaine used a naughty word, or that he did it in a public venue. The issue is that Fontaine seems to think that words meaning LGBT people are synonyms for “a thing I don’t like.” It’s hard to imagine that that equation does not stem from a dislike for LGBT people.

—  admin

Movie Monday: ‘Warrior’ in wide release

Here’s the beef

There are worse ways to spend two hours in a movie theater than watching hulking, half-naked man-meat wail on each other — in fact, it’s hard to imagine a better way. That’s at least part of the appeal of Warrior.

Set in the world of mixed martial arts, it’s a fiction film (it’s from Gavin O’Connor, the director of Miracle, about the real-life 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team) about two estranged brothers who face off for the ultimate glory: One (Joel Edgerton), a family man in financial straights, the other (Tom Hardy), a troubled Gulf War veteran with something to prove. If that sounds cliched, just try watching it.

No really, do — because, as predictable and manipulative as Warrior is, it’s also damned entertaining, in the way only the hokiest of sports movies can be. I grew up in a sports household, so have long held a soft spot for movies like Million Dollar Baby, Rocky III and The Fighter, all of which this resembles more than passingly.

Read the entire review here.

DEETS: Starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton. 139 minutes. PG-13. Three stars.

—  Rich Lopez

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Dralion’ closes today in Frisco

Cirque work

Traditional Chinese circus meets the modern circus in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. Filled with the usual jaw-dropping feats, Dralion goes beyond circus tricks. The flying acrobats, the haunting (and gay) vocalist and the trio of clowns come together to bring a moving work of art. Two things to be aware of. Even though it’s in the Dr. Pepper Arena where hockey teams practice and play, they could turn the air up a bit. And the parking garage is, well, a challenge. But Dralion makes it all wortwhile.

DEETS: Cirque du Soleil: Dralion at Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. 5 p.m. $40–$95. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Meet George Atis, The Douchebag Hockey Dad Who Bullied The Single Female Player Off His Son’s Team

Kayla Watkins is 12. She plays hockey. On a team that's otherwise all-boys. Or she did, until George Atis, a father of a male teammate who didn't like her playing skills, bullied Kayla into quitting the team. Great job, douche.

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—  admin

The sexist pigs at The Chicago Tribune are gonna wish they hadn't done this

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For weeks I’ve been looking for a way to work my Flyers — who are in the midst of a battle for the Stanley Cup against the Chicago Blackhawks — onto this blog. So The Chicago Tribune deserves a special thanks for finally giving me an opportunity. The Blackhawks’ hometown newspaper on Tuesday printed the above poster depicting Flyers star defenseman Chris Pronger in a skirt, calling him “Chrissy” Pronger and saying he, “Looks like Tarzan, skates like Jane.” While the poster may have been intended as a joke, some feel it’s flat out sexist – and surprising given that The Tribune has a female editor. I would argue that the poster is also homophobic, but I take comfort in knowing that Pronger is gonna make those effin sissies pay tonight!!!tankionlinecheatcodes.ruанализ продвижения сайта

—  John Wright