One of the best hockey memories I have is from last March. On March 5th, right before quarantine started, I went to my first Pride Night. It was hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks when they played the Edmonton Oilers and it was, without a doubt, one of the most magical nights of my life. I got a nice Hawks Pride shirt, some great pins, and I enjoyed two things that are a big part of who I am: hockey and Pride.
For me, Pride is a really big thing. I’ve spent a lot of my life ashamed of who I am – a bisexual person (I’ll also use queer from time to time too). But now, after years and years of working on that, working on embracing what makes me different not running from it, I can finally breath easy and celebrate myself as well as those who worked and fought for me to feel remotely safe being myself in public. So when any Pride event happens or there is Pride merch for one of my teams, you bet your ass I want to jump on board and be there. To me, that’s combining two huge parts of who I am and it’s nice, welcoming validation. That’s also why it is so frustrating that teams don’t usually sell Pride jerseys to the public unless they’re auctioned off.
I’m a jersey hoarder. I absolutely love them. I already have 6 Blackhawks jerseys, they’re my hometown and favorite team, So when they announced that they were finally having Pride jerseys I just knew that I have to have one. Look at them:
The absolutely painful side of this though is that you can’t just buy a jersey like this. The only way to get one if if you bid on them and they go for a fuck ton of money. Right now they’re ranging from $400 to $1,900 and it’s just the first day of the auction. It is awesome that they’re the real jerseys worn by the players, they come signed, and the money goes to a great cause. I love all of that. Yet, there’s plenty of LGBT fans who would kill for one of these who don’t have that kind of money to spend. For example, me – a kinda (?) employed bi person who would have loved to rock a rainbow 38.
I said a while back that I’d bid on a Pride jersey if we got them so going into this I thought “okay maybe I’ll try to get the Branden Hagel jersey because I wanted his jersey anyway. Getting the Pride one is an added bonus.” Well now that one is $1,500, which is triple what I have in my bank account at this very moment. Even if I looked at Kubalik or Strome – two of my favorite other players – they’re still above anything I could even think of paying. I’ve always wanted a Pride jersey but because they don’t just sell them as is it makes it impossible to ever dream of owning.
That goes for all teams around the league too. I know plenty of LGBT fans that would LOVE to own Pride jerseys for their teams. So why the hell are they not made to be sold to fans? The Dallas Stars had their Pride game last night and they also are just auctioning warm-up jerseys. Philly has theirs coming up and I bet it will be the same. So here I am, standing on my soapbox begging the league to just start selling Pride jerseys to fans. We’ve been asking, and asking, and asking and I think it’s about damn time.
Now if you need me I will be refreshing the Hawks auction page for the next 9 days to mourn a jersey I had no shot at owning.
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Featured Image: Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images