The captain of the Edmonton Oilers will march in this year’s Pride Parade through downtown Edmonton this weekend.

Andrew Ference will be walking as a delegate for the You Can Play team, which campaigns against homophobia and discrimination in sports. Ference will also be joined by members of the University of Alberta’s Camp FYrefly youth leadership program.

Ference, who has been an advocate for You Can Play for several years, said the program has changed the way NHL players think and act.

Listen to Andrew Ference's full interview from CBC's Radio Active

Speaking alongside Mayor Don Iveson on Wednesday, he spoke passionately about ending discrimination.

“In a lot of cities, they rally around sports teams, and to have involvement from them is very important – especially for youth that are going through tough times – to know that they have support.” 

“We are grateful for Andrew’s relentless support for You Can Play and the ideal we work to instill in sports. Bringing professional athletes together with LGBTQ youth benefits everyone: the athletes, the young people, the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton,” said Patrick Burke, the president of You Can Play.

Ference joined the Oilers in July 2013 and was named captain that September. Prior to joining Edmonton, he spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins.

This is not the first time Ference has thrown his support behind social and environmental issues.

He has also campaigned to make the NHL more carbon neutral and had led workouts in Edmonton’s river valley in order to encourage others to become more active.