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Mayor, OUTLoud and Pride to unite for ceremonial puck drop

The City of North Bay and community partners will be promoting and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion at Thursday's North Bay Battalion game at Memorial Gardens
Thursday is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Night at Memorial Gardens.

The City of North Bay is proudly sponsoring an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Night during Thursday's North Bay Battalion home game versus the Windsor
Spitfires that begins at 7 p.m.

In partnership with North Bay Pride and OUTLoud North Bay, the initiative is aimed at promoting and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion in our community.

“As a City, we are committed to equality, understanding, tolerance and respect for all residents regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” says Mayor Peter Chirico. “We are extremely pleased to be teaming up with the Battalion, Pride and OUTLoud to help promote and encourage inclusivity and diversity for everyone.”

See related: The Pride flag flies proudly over North Bay’s City Hall

Mayor Chirico will be joined at centre ice by members of North Bay Pride and OUTLoud for a ceremonial puck drop and both organizations will be on hand during the game distributing pride flags to fans. There will also be an information booth where fans can connect with Pride and OUTLoud to ask questions and pick up resource materials.

“As a community organization for youth, we need to value and respect each other,” says OUTLoud founder Seth Compton. “This means being inclusive, being responsible for each other's actions, language and learning, regardless of race, colour, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, and basis of disability.

“Together we stand stronger. Together we are better people. Understanding and respecting others can save a life. As we evolve, we continue to learn. Our future needs to focus on love and acceptance.”

See also: Community shows strong support for OUTLoud, North Star Guardian

Jason Maclennan, communications director for North Bay Pride, notes that being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community is not a choice and that no one should be denied access or bullied because of who they are. Maclennan highlights inclusion is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

Maclennan commends the City of North Bay and North Bay Battalion for taking this step and recognizing that change is needed so that everyone feels like they have space in Canada's favourite sport.

“One day, we will love who we love and hate will have no home here — in the City, the province and the country.” Maclennan points out well-known drag performer Michelle Ross always said, “Say love,” and he adds, “Love is the true meaning of life. And, we can all use a little more of love.”

According to Battalion General Manager Adam Dennis, “This game is such an important step for the growth and development of our game. Hockey is for everyone and we look forward to helping grow the game by making it a more inclusive and a safe space for all to enjoy it. Thanks to all involved that have helped put this together.”