“I just thought that it was something that didn’t get as much attention as it should’ve,” Lucas Jodoin told USA Hockey about the Pride Tape he saw NHL players apply to their hockey sticks.
So, at the end of last hockey season, right before the last hockey tournament of the year, Jodoin fastened the rainbow-colored tape to his own hockey stick, in honor of Pride month.
The 14-year-old from Michigan said he was inspired by players for his favorite team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Jodoin has played hockey for as long as he can remember, according to the report. The frozen lake at the house where Jodoin grew up included a rink he set up with help from his dad. He’s played as both a defenseman and a winger.
He told USA Hockey he is straight, but decided to apply Pride Tape as his way of showing support for the LGBTQ+ community, including those within his hockey community. Outside of hockey, he said he is friends with people who are openly gay, and throughout his life, he has attended family LGBTQ+ weddings.
“He’ll stand up for others who might not be able to stand up for themselves.”— USA Hockey (@usahockey) July 2, 2020
Inspired by his favorite @NHL players, Michigan teen Lucas Jodoin showed his support for the LGBTQ+ community with @PrideTape. ❤️ → https://t.co/SrXkLWncTK pic.twitter.com/uJ7L25xNgC
His parents told USA Hockey they worried that he might get teased, and he did. But to Jodoin, that didn’t matter; He had his opinion, and decided to go ahead with his plan to display it on his hockey stick, even if others didn’t agree.
“It was a way for Lucas to show his support for all people, that everybody should have the opportunity to play if they wanted to,” Julia Jodoin said. “That somebody shouldn’t not play hockey out of fear, especially when, as Lucas experienced this during that tournament, that the teasing can come from anyone.”
Jodoin’s mother said she feared her son might choose to stop using the Pride tape after being bullied. But according to the report, Jodoin is a “pretty confident kid” and he didn’t back down.
“Making the choice to support those that he loves, and even those that he doesn’t know, that might not have a voice,” Jodoin’s mother said. “He’ll stand up for others who might not be able to stand up for themselves.”
“And long after you forget whether you won that tournament or not, or long after the trophy of that hockey game is covered in dust, folks will remember his character. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Next up for Jodoin, he plans to try out for his high school hockey team, and vowed to keep using Pride Tape.
“I would still do it again to raise awareness and to show that it matters,” Jodoin said.
Jodoin offered this message for both straight allies considering following his example, and for closeted gay athletes: have confidence: “You have to be able to be yourself.”