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No hockey, no fans, but plenty of Pride in Pittsburgh

The arena where the Pittsburgh Penguins normally play hockey was lit up in Pride colors Tuesday night even though the coronavirus pandemic has suspended the season.

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The PNG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh showed its true colors for Pride Night Tuesday, March 24, 2020, even though the hockey season is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Twitter: Taylor Haase, DK Pittsburgh Sports

There was no pride tape, no rainbow flags nor even a gay chorus in sight last night at the PNG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Penn. Pride Night, like every other night on the Pittsburgh Penguins March calendar, was canceled Tuesday on account of the suspension of the NHL season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But that didn’t stop the Penguins from showing their Pride outside their home ice.

Sports reporter Taylor Haase of DK Pittsburgh Sports.com tweeted a photo Tuesday evening of the arena sign lit up in rainbow colors.

The Penguins have also been doing their part to help their community. Last week they donated more than 2,000 pounds of food from the arena to a local group helping neighbors in need, KDKA-TV reported.

The team announced Pride Night in November, with the goal of “focusing on the LGBTQ community as the Penguins and other NHL teams promote safety and inclusion for all who participate in the sport — athletes, coaches and fans.”

Players facing off against the Hurricanes were going to warm-up with hockey sticks wrapped in Pride Tape, which were to be auctioned off later in the evening. The proceeds were to benefit the You Can Play Project that works to defeat homophobia in sports, as part of the NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone campaign. Fans were supposed to be able to buy Pride-themed Penguins merchandise that night at PensGear stores. None of it materialized because of the suspension.

However, fans can still purchase Penguins Pride-themed caps and tops by clicking here for the NHL online store. And if you’re in a position to help, You Can Play is accepting donations to make sports accessible to every LGBTQ athlete.

Meanwhile, NHL general managers met with league officials on a conference call Tuesday and extended the suspension through at least April 6, DK Pittsburgh Sports.com reported.

So until then, perhaps longer, Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ fans will have to find other ways to entertain themselves, such as the Instagram feed of Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese.