The K-Wings, ECHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets, painted a rainbow on their home ice on Friday night celebrating Hockey Is For Everyone in their game against the Toledo Walleye.
The Kalamazoo Wings have had this tradition of painting their ice for decades. Traditionally they have orange, pink, and/or green ice nights every year celebrating holidays and theme nights; St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Breast Cancer Awareness on Valentine’s Day..
Most of the time with these games, the entire ice surface is dyed. Per league standards however, they are required to leave the red and blue lines uncovered, as well the goalie’s crease.
This is the first time, the Wings or any other professional team has painted a rainbow on the ice. The rainbow stretched across center ice, between the faceoff circles in either zone. More than the act is the cause. This was done for their annual Hockey Is For Everyone Night, which celebrates inclusion within the sport, for all those who play and watch hockey. Building a culture that makes sure that people of all races, creeds, orientations, sexes, etc are included and welcome.
Like most of the theme nights, Kalamazoo did wear a special sweater, which was awesome; solid black, rainbow accents. These jerseys will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Southwest Michigan Miracle League. From their website, their mission is to “provide opportunities for kids, regardless of their abilities, to compete and experience the joy and benefits that come from playing sports.” So, great cause, and a fun, different experience for spectators.
Unfortunately for the Kalamazoo faithful, the Walleye tried to dampen the fun, and won 4-2.
With Toledo being the Detroit Red Wings ECHL affiliate, it didn’t ruin my fun any..
Future Painted Ice Events This Season
February 11th vs Indy Fuel (Chicago Blackhawks affiliate)
Celebrating Breast Cancer survivors and Valentine’s Day.
March 18th vs Iowa Heartlanders (Minnesota Wild affiliate)
St. Patrick’s Day!
I got to attend the game on Friday, and it really is a different vibe with the colored ice. Definitely worth going to, also both games are on Fridays where the Wings have $2 Beer, pop and hot dog night.. why not!?