Canucks' Manny Malhotra to join Vancouver Pride Parade
Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra will march in the Vancouver 2012 Pride Parade on Sunday, organizers have confirmed.
Malhotra will be joined by Patrick Burke and march with players from the Vancouver Cutting Edges, billed as the only gay hockey club in Western Canada.
Officials with the Vancouver Pride Society said they were "absolutely thrilled" with the news.
Malhotra is the third professional hockey player to participate in North American Pride events this year under the You Can Play banner. Tommy Wingels of the San Jose Sharks and Vincent LoVerde, of the Ontario Reign, marched in Chicago on June 24.
Malhotra joins Canucks teammates Ryan Kesler, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin in lending his name and efforts to You Can Play, an organization dedicated to eliminating homophobia in sports co-founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke.
"I’m thrilled to be able to show my support for You Can Play," said Manny Malhotra in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.
"It’s paramount that equality in sport, and beyond, becomes the norm. Everybody has the right to play the game they love."
Burke appeared in the debut You Can Play public service announcement in March with his father, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. The Burkes took part in Toronto's Pride Parade last month.
"Having a well-respected warrior in Manny stand up along with Henrik, Daniel, Ryan, and dozens of other NHLers around the League gives hope to young LGBT hockey players everywhere," said a statement issued by Patrick Burke Wednesday morning.
Parade organizers earlier confirmed transgender beauty contestant Jenna Talackova will be one of three marshals leading the parade through the West End of Vancouver on Sunday.