The grooms wore hockey jerseys over their dress shirts and bow ties. The priest wore a referee’s jersey. The wedding ceremony was at center ice. The chocolate cake was in the shape of a Zamboni. A goal horn sounded when the grooms kissed.
The wedding of Eric Pinder and Dwayne Smoot at the Amway Center in Orlando — courtesy of the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL — was memorable as perhaps the first same sex wedding at a hockey arena.
The couple were married in November, but the Solar Bears just sent them the wedding video this past weekend, which we were made aware of by our friends at Puck Buddys:
When saying their vows to each other, Pinder and Smoot were asked by the priest, Gordon Barcalow, if they “promise to love and cherish [each other] through power plays and penalty kills, until the final horn of life sounds.”
Pinder told Outsports how the wedding came off:
“We met at a party and I was wearing a Red Wings Jersey. Dwayne knew the team and player so I was impressed. Plus, he is very cute. So hockey was really our first conversation.
“When we were looking to get married, we thought that doing it before a game would be a great choice — we could get people to go see our local team, the Orlando Solar Bears. I called our ticket rep and asked if we could get married before a game. He said, ‘Hold on,’ then three minutes later got back on the phone and said, ‘Sure, we can do that for you.’
“We had 30 people in a suite after and around 50 who bought tickets and sat in the section next to us. The Amway Arena was great. They let people rotate in and out of the suite so everyone could see our Zamboni cake. The priest is a friend of ours (also gay) who was thrilled to officiate.
“We also had hockey themed gift bags — a puck with our wedding logo, unopened packs of trading cards from the 1990s and M&Ms with our team colors. We are both wearing Solar Bears jerseys, but Dwayne had a game-worn one from “Star Wars” night.”
Pinder, an actor/director/writer, and Smoot, who works in IT and data for Valencia College, met 16 years ago. Pinder was born a Red Wings fan, but both men have also adopted the Tampa Bay Lightning as their team. Pinder’s best man wore a Red Wing jersey, even though he's a Penguins fan; Smoot’s best man wore a Steven Stamkos Lightning jersey.
The couple want to give a special shout-out to Justin Derazza and Mark Nolte, the two men at the Solar Bears who made their special day memorable. By all accounts, it was a clean wedding, with no guests sent off to the penalty box.