What to know about Coachella Valley Pride Hockey?
Our organization was formed following an immense amount of increased general interest in the sport of hockey in the “Valley” which coincided with the construction of a new 10,000 seat arena and adjoining Berger Foundation Iceplex in Thousand Palms, CA. The arena is home to a professional [American Hockey League] team and the adjacent rink provides a space for public skating, youth/adult hockey as well as a new venue for hosting hockey tournaments. Due to the excitement of the opening of this complex and high interest from LGBTQ+ sports enthusiasts, it was determined there was enough support to spark the creation of the association. Once the association was initially launched, we found an immense amount of excitement to further spread our wings. This jump started the formation of a local LGBTQ+ team and the bringing together of hockey players from all over North America to our beautiful area in a one-of-a-kind international sports event. Although there are LGBTQ+ hockey teams in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and across North America, there was no such entity in the Palm Springs area. This is the first ever organization of it’s kind in the entire Coachella Valley. Coachella Valley is unique in its beauty as a world class resort and vacation destination but is also well known as home to a large LGBTQ+ community with an expanding and growing population. Coachella Valley Pride Hockey is a not-for-profit organization with volunteers and supporters from around the Valley. We are actively working with local businesses for sponsorships and outreach opportunities with the goal of expanding and strengthening our reach to promote hockey with a message of love, inclusion and advocacy for the LGBT community and all marginalized people. Hockey is the greatest sport on Earth and it should be for everyone. Coachella Valley Pride Hockey strives to be an avenue to open up opportunities for learning about this great sport and get people interested in playing while gaining a voice and space in the gay sports community in the Valley. Come join us!
Why do we need an LGBTQ+ Hockey Association in the Coachella Valley?
Why do we form LGBTQ+ sports organizations? Why is there a need for such a thing? Sadly, the truth is that homophobia and transphobia does exist in our communities. Many of us feel that we live in a place where people can participate in sports in a safe environment and, while we have an amazing and strong LGBTQ+ community in the Palm Springs area, we are a diverse collection of nine cities within one broader community. Same sex parents have seen the impact of homophobia in our schools and sports teams and have seen exclusion from sports and the damage it does to people young and old. This still happens in the Coachella Valley school districts and sports leagues today. That is why we need LGBTQ+ people to stand and be advocates for our athletes and our youth. LGBTQ+ adults that participate in sports leagues in the Valley may also find that their teams and the general environment may be non-supportive and even hostile to LGBTQ+ issues and therefore, feel uncomfortable or unsafe being themselves. All of these situations can have negative effects and cause athletes to lose confidence, lack self-esteem or just put unwanted pressure and stress on their lives.
As the Coachella Valley welcomes professional hockey, leagues and teams will begin to form here. Coachella Valley Pride Hockey is here to ensure hockey organizations in the Coachella Valley strive to live up to the tenets of the NHL's mission of "Hockey is for Everyone" and the important work of the "You Can Play Project". Challenging a culture of homophobia and transphobia in sports starts with visibility and while waving a pride flag or showing the pride colors is important, it is not enough.
Our Mission is to introduce hockey to the LGBTQ+ community and enjoy the great game of hockey in a safe and inclusive space. We are also committed to being a resource for other hockey leagues or teams to help educate players, coaches and parents. We will challenge homophobia and transphobia and ensure that hockey truly is for everyone. LGBTQ+ athletes and advocates will find a safe, supportive home in Coachella Valley Pride Hockey.
The Greater Palm Springs International Pride Hockey Tournament.
On March 23, 2023 we welcomed ten teams from across North America to our community to celebrate LGBTQ+ Hockey! Teams from Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, New York, Chicago, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Independent players from across North America joined us for five days of hockey, community and fun! When we say LGBTQ+, that does not limit us to only LGBTQ+ players. We also welcomed many allies, advocates and supporters of the LGBT community.
In addition to our amazing friends from across the United States and Canada, we were thrilled to announce that the Coachella Valley has our very own teams. The Coachella Valley Roadrunners and The Coachella Valley Coyotes made their debut at the 2023 Greater Palm Springs International LGBT Hockey Tournament. These teams of LGBTQ+ players and supporters from the Coachella Valley and other areas represented. We were also proud to announce that the inaugural sponsor of the Coachella Valley Roadrunners is Hunters, Palm Springs https://hunterspalmsprings.com/ The Sponsor of the Coachella Valley Coyotes is The Barracks https://www.barracksps.com/
For more information on The Coachella Valley LGBT Hockey Association visit our website at www.palmspringsgayhockey.org or contact Paul O'Kane at (802)310-7347.