CFL to Host First League-Sanctioned LGBTQ Event for Grey Cup Weekend

The event will take place at Striker Sports Bar, the first LGBTQ sports bar in Canada, in conjunction with the You Can Play Project.

Nov 15 2016, 4:00pm

Photo courtesy Johnay Jutras

For the first time in Canadian Football League history, there will be an official, league-sanctioned Grey Cup party in support of the LGBTQ community during championship week, VICE Sports has learned.

As another part of its proud partnership with the You Can Play project, the CFL is planning a large celebration in downtown Toronto on Friday, Nov. 25, in hopes to continue to bridge the gap between the CFL and the LGBTQ community. The event will be held at Striker Sports Bar, Canada's first LGBTQ sports bar, which opened in downtown Toronto in September.

The ticketed event will celebrate inclusion, with prizes taking place throughout the night. All funds raised during the evening will go toward You Can Play's various inclusion efforts and campaigns across the country.

The You Can Play Project is a non-profit organization co-founded by Patrick Burke—son of Calgary Flames president Brian Burke. It works to ensure equality and respect amongst all athletes despite their sexual orientation or gender identity, while working to guarantee that all athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete and be judged based solely on performance. A combination of athletes, actors and celebrities are partnered with You Can Play and help to promote its goals and objectives through various sponsored events across Canada.

In 2014, the CFL and the CFL Players Association announced a partnership with the You Can Play Project that provides a confidential and anonymous system through which coaches, players, family and staff can receive training, support, counselling and other resources.

The CFL's East and West finals take place in Ottawa and Calgary this weekend, with the 104th Grey Cup going the following Sunday, Nov. 27, at BMO Field in Toronto.