Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Furies make proud statement by participating in Toronto Pride Parade

A remarkable example of team spirit and community outreach came when players from the Clarkson Cup champion Toronto Furies participated in Toronto’s Annual Pride Parade. Taking into account that the event brings over 1 million spectators to the parade route, it has become one of the largest of its kind, becoming a signature event for Canada’s largest city.

Considering that the CWHL is a proud partner with the You Can Play Project, founded by Patrick Burke, the son of CWHL Board Member Brian Burke, it is a group that looks to eliminate homophobia from the locker room. Patrick’s brother Brendan had come out in November 2009 and sadly lost his life in an auto accident a few months later. You Can Play! is a unique way to also honor his life.

In the last few months, the CWHL has seen several of its players show remarkable courage with their own public admissions. Living legends such as Caitlin Cahow, Jayna Hefford and Charline Labonte (who have 11 combined Winter Games appearances between them) made such announcements with a remarkable outpouring of support from their fans. Seeing the Furies involved with the Pride Parade was more than a tremendous show of solidarity, it was a great moment of pride during the off-season to see some of their hockey heroes involved.

Starting at the intersection of Bloor and Church Street, the route went down Yonge Street (one of the world’s longest streets) toward Gerrard, and then returning eastward to Church Street. Among the members of the blue and white, veterans Meagan Aarts and Martine Garland (who works as a lawyer by day), Alora Keers, rookie (and former national team member) Jenelle Kohanchuk, 2013 CWHL Draft pick Holly Carrie-Mattimoe, Carolyne Prevost, who led the Furies in scoring were joined by Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield. Spooner would make history by becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal and the Clarkson Cup in the same year. Wakefield also played with Spooner, proudly representing the Furies on Canada’s gold medal winning entry at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

As a side note, Spooner, who is a competitor on the second season of The Amazing Race Canada was joined at the parade by another pair of competitors from the popular program. Laura and Jackie, a same-sex couple who are legally married, faced elimination during the third episode. Other athletes that marched included the likes of NHLers Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan, along with members of Toronto FC from Major League Soccer.


With the Calgary Pride Parade to come later in the summer, it would be remarkable if members of the Inferno followed in the Furies’ footsteps and participated as well. The Toronto Pride Parade proved that the CWHL is willing do more than just talk the talk, they are walking the walk, and in doing so, sending a statement that equality and respect shall be the way of the future for the budding league. 

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