Nova Scotia

Halifax LGBTQ hockey tournament kicks off with slick moves and fun team names

The Halifax Pride Cup, a three-day hockey tournament made up entirely of LGBTQ players, kicked off on Friday. Players from outside Halifax, including the U.S., are competing at the event, which runs until Sunday.

Competition draws player from outside Halifax, including the U.S.

A hockey goalie watches players skate to their left.
The 2023 Halifax Pride Cup runs until Sunday. (Andrew Lam/CBC)

Hockey players warmed up, fired off practice shots at their goalie and then — with the puck drop — began the first games of the Halifax Pride Cup.

The three-day hockey tournament, made up entirely of LGBTQ players, kicked off Friday evening with three games and six teams. The tournament is the first organized by Queer Hockey Nova Scotia.

The games are free and open to the public, although organizers are accepting donations.

Seventy-five players registered for the tournament, and It isn't just locals who are competing.

A woman with dyed hair is wearing a hoodie and holds a hockey stick in a hockey arena.
Kriona Hagen is a centre playing on Team Trans. She came from Madison, Wis., to play in the 2023 Halifax Pride Cup. (Andrew Lam/CBC)

Kriona Hagen, who plays on Team Trans as a centre, came up from Madison, Wis. She found out about the Pride Cup through her best friend, who is one of the organizers.

"Playing with Team Trans and being on a team where everyone else is transgender is almost a spiritual experience," she said.

Hagen said she began playing hockey as an adult because she was looking for queer community.

"I was so desperate, I was willing to try team sports," she said.

As for the opportunity to play among LGBTQ hockey players, Hagen said it's affirming.

"It's so nice being in a locker room where you don't have to explain anything," she said. "The people there already know and understand."

A person wearing an HFX Pride Cup t-shirt is standing in a hockey arena.
O Stonehouse of Dartmouth, N.S., plays on team Golden Goals in the tournament. (Andrew Lam/CBC)

O Stonehouse also shares that feeling of comfort in playing with people like them.

"It's the most excited I've been for a sporting event in my whole life," they said.

Stonehouse is part of team Golden Goals, a play on The Golden Girls. The team faced off yesterday against team Trans-Canada Express in a dramatic game.

Trans-Canada Express initially went up 1-0 in the first period. But with just over eight minutes to go in the third, the Golden Goals tied it up. 

Stonehouse's team went on to win the game 3-2, with Stonehouse scoring a goal.

"Team Trans Canada Express was a ton of fun to play against, super personable people," Stonehouse said after the game. "Every faceoff was a chat — it was super lovely."

In the end, it's all in good fun, with players lining up at centre-ice to shake hands.

Two hockey players on the bench watch their teammates play.
The Halifax Pride Cup features team names like Ice-Ice Gaybies and team Trans-Canada Express. (Andrew Lam/CBC)

After months of work organizing the event, Queer Hockey Nova Scotia founder Jay McKellar called the tournament "very overwhelming but very exciting."

McKellar, who plays for Team Trans, said he is excited to be playing against friends and family.

"It's incredible to see these six teams and … athletes come from all over to experience Pride and queer joy," McKellar said.

The final game and championship of the Pride Cup is at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at Centennial Arena.


Andrew Lam

Reporter/Associate Producer

Andrew Lam (they/she) is a Chinese-Canadian and trans reporter for CBC Nova Scotia. They are interested in 2SLGBTQIA+, labour and data-driven stories. Andrew also has a professional background in data analytics and visualization.

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