Kingston Frontenacs host Pride Night

LGBTQ+ event sees Frontenacs, Kingston community

A pair of Frontenacs players donning their Pride-themed jerseys.
Credit: 
Supplied by Michael LeClaire

Last Friday night’s game wasn’t any ordinary matchup for the Kingston Frontenacs as they hosted the Oshawa Generals. 

In conjunction with Kingston Pride, the Frontenacs held a Pride Night at the K-Rock Centre, with proceeds of their game going to various LGBTQ+ organizations. The game was set up in collaboration with Kingston Pride Inc., the Frontenacs organization and Reelout Film Festival.

The idea of hosting a Pride Night came from Matt Salton, the executive director of Reelout. Salton said he came up with the event idea to remedy the lack of engagement in LGBTQ+ related initiatives from the city. 

“It all started back in June this year and I decided that, after Kingston Pride had wrapped up, I was sort of dismayed to see the lack of support from the city,” he said. To do this, Salton sent letters to various city councillors, which resulted in interest from the local media and Frontenacs management. 

“I decided to send out letters to all the city counselors about it, and it blew up into a big deal in the media and made its way to the management of the Frontenacs.” 

At the game, booths were set up by Kingston Pride and Reelout so people could get more information on the organizations. On top of this, there was a ceremonial puck drop by the children and grandchildren of LGBTQ+ community members, as well as the Frontenac’s newly-designed jerseys.

“The jerseys were the number one response,” Salton said, alluding to the thick rainbow stripe which extended around the Frontenacs’ white jerseys. “[E]veryone wanted the jerseys and wanted to see how they could get one.” 

Salton said, “There was back and forth whether not we would put [the jerseys] on sale,” prior to the game. 

Ultimately, they decided the jerseys should be special for this year only. Until they’re all sold out, they’ll be auctioned off with the profits benefitting Kingston Pride. 

According to Michael LeClair — Corporate Account Executive of the Frontenacs — the night was also inspired by a similar event hosted by the Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) Niagara Ice Dogs last season. Once Salton brought the idea to the Frontenacs, LeClair was enthusiastic to bring it to Kingston.

“The Kingston Frontenacs place a very high importance on being a community-based team and we saw this as an opportunity to create a relationship and support the LGBTQ+ community in Kingston,” LeClair said via email.

The jerseys were designed in collaboration between LeClair and Frontenacs executive director Justin Chenier. Although they discussed how there could be a potential clash between the LGBTQ+ colours and the team’s classic black and gold, the designs ultimately provided to be popular. Each jersey has been going in the price range of $200-$300 with multiple bids.

In addition to the money being made off of the jersey auction, $5 of every pre-sold ticket is being donated to LGBTQ+ organizations around Kingston.

The night has received extremely positive feedback. According to LeClair, the main message of the night was “Love is Love,” which is relatable and inclusive to everybody. 

Both Salton and LeClair hope this will become an annual event in Kingston. 

“We absolutely plan on doing more events like this in the future,” LeClair said. “[W]e are in a fortunate position in this community of having a large reach, and it’s important for the Frontenacs to continue to foster more relationships and highlight so many of the great things that the city of Kingston has to offer.

Salton echoed this thought, adding, “We hope it will be an annual thing, everyone had a really good time. There were 3,889 people  [that] attended and the Fronts won, so everything seemed like a good sigh.”

When asked how he’d sum up the night, Salton said, “Everyone won but the Oshawa Generals."

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