It’s June, which means it’s Pride Month. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at the social media channels of the Blackhawks. They have yet to acknowledge the celebratory month for the LGBTQ+ community, a community that is vastly underserved in the hockey world.
No logo change, no hashtag use, no donations or charities to promote. Nothing. The only acknowledgment that I’ve seen this month was The Athletic’s profile of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association last week by Scott Powers.
The Blackhawks have said that they hope to make the hockey community and the Blackhawks fan community, in particular, more inclusive, but so far we haven’t seen it. And, unfortunately, that’s in line with their history of being last in line in the NHL when it comes to social issues. I’m not saying that the Blackhawks MUST be the voices leading the charge. And in most cases, they probably shouldn’t be. But they don’t have be last, either. Even one of their development coaches, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, has made a post about Pride Month and they had no promotion of it (as of this writing).
— Kendall Coyne Schofield (@KendallCoyne) June 16, 2021
Update: The team did retweet this in the afternoon.
There has been increasing changes in the inclusiveness of hockey over the past year+, led by organizations like the Black Girl Hockey Club, Pride Tape, and LGBTQ+ hockey communities alike. Not to mention the work being done to make the hockey community more inclusive for BIPOC people. But the Blackhawks remain one of the least active in those realms when it comes to consistently promoting those initiatives and showing support for those communities.
And it’s not like they are too busy focusing on the Stanley Cup Playoffs or anything like that. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Colorado Avalanche, all playoff teams, have made the efforts on their social media channels to promote Pride Month and LGBTQ+ charities/initiatives. Even the Seattle Kraken, who don’t even have a real team yet, have been more active than almost every other NHL team when it comes to promoting inclusiveness in their fan communities.
Even the Rockford IceHogs and the Indy Fuel, AHL and ECHL affiliates of the Blackhawks, have made ample promotion of Pride Month.
Don't forget, these jerseys will be auctioned off live after the game!
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) May 28, 2021
Say something, do something, promote an organization, anything even small could make a difference in how the Blackhawks LGBTQ+ fan community and those who support marginalized communities around hockey may view the team. Even something as small and simple as making the logo on their social media accounts be in the Pride flag colors would be something more than they have done all month. But we are here on June 17th, and still no acknowledgement.
I say all this because I love the Blackhawks and I want better for them and from them. Look, we already know that they have doubled down on the team name and logo, and maybe that is part of the reason they stay quiet until the last minute on social issues like this. Maybe they are avoiding speaking up and speaking because they know they will receive backlash. But if you want to be looked at as a model franchise, sometimes you have to take some criticisms for doing things that may not be the norm, especially in the world of hockey, which has historically been geared towards straight, white men.
I just want to have my NHL team be a team I can be happy with on and off the ice. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.
Or maybe it is.