The Columbus Blue Jackets Pride Night on Friday, March 11, was a success, excluding the defeats of the two host teams. In the NHL game, the Blue Jackets fell to the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets appear to have conceded any chance to make the playoffs, an observation quite noticeable in contrast to the Kings who are scrapping for points (only 4 points separate the Kings, currently seeded #4, and the Anaheim Ducks, who are 10th in the standings, 2 places out of the playoffs).
The Ohio Mayhem did not fare much better against the Chicago Black Wolves. The goalie for the Mayhem stumbled out of the bench area to start warm-ups providing a rousing laughter for the crowd. (Pic below, and additional pics from the event here.) It didn’t get much better for the Mayhem and they ultimately lost the game 6-0.
The difference in skill level between the two teams was quite evident. While there were a few players on the Mayhem who looked like they had been playing hockey for a while, the entire Black Wolves team seemed to be able to out skate and shoot the Mayhem. Regardless, it was an enjoyable affair, at least from my perspective.
For the main affair, they had the group up in the “Sky Terrace” of the arena. While it could have looked like an act of segregating the gays, it was quite nice for us to have our own little area. We had our own group of open seating and our own concessions and bathrooms. (You can see the seats that were ours in the picture below: we had all the seats above the divider of the blue sky and clouds.)
The most notable benefit of being separate from the general crowd was that the group could freely engage in those normal public displays of affection: hugging, holding hands, and the occasional peck of a kiss. It’s something that straight couples soft often take for granted and can be a rare opportunity for some gay couples who censor their actions in public.
While presumably coincidental, the entertainment between the 2nd and 3rd periods also was gay themed: the Ohio State Synchronized Ice Skating team performed, donning pink tutus and skating around to some iconic gay anthems. (I wish I remembered what the songs were, but trust me, the gays loved it.)
I consider the event a success because of the spectators it drew in for the first time. The crowd was a good mix of seasoned Blue Jacket fans and many newcomers. All those who came left with a decent amount of swag too: a Rick Nash bobblehead (in the new alternate uniforms), a free Blue Jackets hat and sweatband, and miscellaneous promotional material for Stonewall Columbus, one of the beneficiaries of the event.
Additional pics that I took are here, and I’ll keep an eye out for other pics being posted.
EDIT: The Chicago Gay Hockey Association (home for the Black Wolves) posted a great album of shots from the event/trip.