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'Rainbow Capitalism At Its Finest': St. Louis Blues' 'Hockey Is For Everyone' Draws Criticism

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Blues hosted their first-ever Pride Night in 2017 to much fanfare. Three years later, they’re doing things a bit differently. The National Hockey League and the Blues will hold their “Hockey Is For Everyone” event on the road and host a watch party March 24 in St. Louis instead. 

A few days ago, the Blues released a statement that detailed the team’s decision to host a watch party in their hometown: “Instead of foregoing ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ completely,” it read in part, “we wanted to brainstorm ways to continue its application.”

The Blues noted that the watch party allows them to provide 18,000 seats for the event instead of “having just a couple hundred available for a home game,” as well as gives participating groups the option to fundraise during the event. 

Some groups see that decision as a blow to the LGBTQ community.

Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with PrideSTL board members Marty Zuniga, the director of entertainment, and Jordan Braxton, the director of public relations, about why they were disappointed with the move.

“They want to take our money for ticket sales, but they won’t even play on the ice for us. It sounds like rainbow capitalism at its finest,” Zuniga said.

Because of the effort to roll up many participating nonprofits into one event, Braxton said it has the opposite effect from ostensibly aiming to be inclusive to those involved. “Sometimes you try to be so inclusive, you’re actually being exclusive,” she said.

She added that it’s also having an impact on the participating nonprofits’ efforts to raise enough money for causes. 

“When you lump all the nonprofits together, then you are taking away each of the nonprofits’ ability to make money to support and sustain the programs they have throughout the year,” Braxton said.

Listen to the full conversation:

Producer's Note: We invited a representative from the St. Louis Blues to participate in this segment or answer further questions in writing. The team declined, opting instead to send us a statement, part of which is included above.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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