Canucks at Pride Reax

Fin pals around at Vancouver Pride
Image courtesy They Slayed the Dragon.

Progress has not come easily to the Vancouver Canucks this offseason. On the Shane Doan front, we’ve had little news, and minimal progress, as Shane Doan remains unsigned. There’s been no progress made on the Roberto Luongo trade front either, as Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis has remained stubborn regarding his asking price for the star goaltender. 

So it was a nice change of pace on Sunday in Vancouver, when the Canucks made a significant contribution to social progress in sports by actively supporting Vancouver Pride. Not only did the club send their mascot Fin, but they also sent two roster players in Jason Garrison and Manny Malhotra to march alongside Patrick Burke of You Can Play, and "the Cutting Edges" (Vancouver’s gay hockey team) in the Pride parade.

Read past the jump for photos and a reaction round up of yesterday’s festivities.

Richard J. Dalton Jr. writing over at (Canada’s Gay & Lesbian News site), set the colourful scene:

Hundreds of thousands of onlookers cheered on Vancouver’s Pride Parade participants Aug 5, including Miss Universe Canada’s first transgendered contestant and, for the first time, a Canucks player.

Dykes on Bikes revved up their motors at noon to once again lead the 34th annual Vancouver Pride Parade on a hot, sunny Sunday.

Vancouver Canucks centre Manny Malholtra says sports broke the colour and gender barriers and must now rid itself of homophobia. “Athletes should be judged on their athletic ability and talent and nothing else,” Malholtra says, walking with Patrick Burke, co-founder of the You Can Play campaign, and the local gay hockey club, The Cutting Edges.

Harrison Mooney nailed it on the significance of the club’s involvement over at Pass it to Bulis: 

The best part is that this wasn’t simply Malhotra or Garrison deciding to take up a pet project. This was an organizational mandate, with two Canucks more than willing to walk in the parade, and the team willing to send their mascot (and his sweet van) along to solidify the committed organizational statement.

Let’s put into perspective how strange what happened Sunday really was: just four professional athletes marched in Pride events this year; two of them are pictured above.

Some embarrassing things may have happened in downtown Vancouver over the last few years, but the unprecedented support for the gay community and the stand taken for equal rights on Robson Street was not one of them.

Over at Puck Daddy, Mr. Mooney passes along this video of the Canucks in procession during the Parade:

Not that we didn’t know this already, but Manny Malhotra is one hell of a thoughtful individual. He shared some thoughts with CBC News about the importance of You Can Play:

“The idea behind You Can Play is what we as athletes strive for — to be judged based on our talent. Hopefully we can make homophobia in sport a thing of the past.”

On his end, Jason Garrison touted Vancouver’s contemporary friendliness toward Pride events and the gay community:

"You know I’m from here, the City of Vancouver. It’s a very Pride city, so I’m here to support the city and obviously the organization and the You Can Play Project.” [via CTV]

Over at the Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith observes that Malhotra was very much "in demand" at Sunday’s parade, but he wonders if Malhotra might be able to do even more next summer:

When Malhotra was standing in front of me on Denman Street, people kept jumping in front of him so they could be caught on camera with him…

At this year’s parade, Malhotra and Garrison appeared to be having a great time. Maybe next year, Malhotra can invite his brother-in-law, basketball star Steve Nash, to join in the fun.

Finally, here’s a photo of our blog friend @GayCanuck posing with Garrison and Malhotra:

Those are three fine looking gentleman, if you ask me!