Rainbow hockey stick tape supports LGBTQ athletes

A colourful new campaign aims to encourage LGBTQ athletes to stay in the game.

The rainbow-coloured hockey tape will be a 'badge of support' for young athletes

Pride Tape is a way for athletes of all ages and skill levels to show their support for LGBTQ people in sport. (University of Alberta)

A colourful new campaign aims to encourage LGBTQ athletes to stay in the game by encouraging hockey players to decorate their sticks with the six colours of the Pride flag.

"Pride Tape is a badge of support to LGBT youth to say you're welcome in our sporting communities." said Kris Wells, director of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, the group spearheading the campaign.

"This is a way to signal that you're an ally without having to actually say anything."

Wells says far too many young people are forced to quit athletics, due to discrimination.

"Hockey in particular can be a hyper-masculinized environment, and any form of difference can be seen as a weakness," said Wells.

"We really want to celebrate inclusiveness, and encourage people that they don't have to leave the sport that they love because their sexual orientation."

A crowdfunding campaign to raise $54,000 to produce and distribute 10,000 rolls of the tape was launched on Thursday. 

Once manufactured, it will be distributed for free to local minor hockey teams across Canada and beyond, with tape also available for sale to the public.

Profits will be split between ISMSS and the You Can Play Project, which also aims to break down barriers for LGBTQ athletes in sport.

The campaign has a powerful ally in Andrew Ference, alternate captain of the Edmonton Oilers, who is featured in a new TV campaign.

"What better way to put hockey and human rights together in a single roll of tape," said Wells.