The Coachella Valley (CV) LGBT Hockey Association was formally launched at the Palm Springs Pride festival in November 2022.  With this announcement, the CV LGBT Hockey Association is releasing more information and details regarding the organization as well as the founding of the first ever CV LGBT hockey team and the Palm Springs international hockey tournament.  

What to know about the CV LGBT Hockey Association?

The organization was formed following an immense amount of increased general interest in the sport of hockey in the “Valley” which coincided with the construction of a new 11,000 arena and adjoining Iceplex (rink) in Thousand Palms, CA.  The arena is home to a professional [American Hockey League] team and the adjacent rink provides a space for public skating, youth/adult hockey as well as a new venue for hosting hockey tournaments.  Due to the excitement of the opening of this complex and high interest from LGBT sports enthusiasts, it was determined there was enough support to spark the creation of the association.  Once the association was initially launched, we found an immense amount of excitement to further spread our wings.  This jump started the formation of a local LGBT team and the bringing together of hockey players from all over North America to our beautiful area in a one-of-a-kind international sports event.  Although there are LGBT hockey teams in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and across North America, there was no such entity in the Palm Springs area.  This is the first ever organization of it’s kind in the entire Coachella Valley.  Coachella Valley is unique in its beauty as a world class resort and vacation destination but is also well known as home to a large LGBT community with an expanding and growing population.  While still in its foundational stages, the CV LGBT Hockey Association is now created as a not-for-profit organization with volunteers and supporters from around the Valley.  We are actively working with local businesses for sponsorships and outreach opportunities with the goal of expanding and strengthening our reach to promote hockey with a message of love, inclusion and advocacy for the LGBT community and all marginalized people.   Hockey is the greatest sport on Earth and it should be for everyone. The CV LGBT Hockey Association strives to be an avenue to open up opportunities for learning about this great sport and get people interested in playing while gaining a voice and space in the gay sports community in the Valley.  Come join us!

Why do we need an LGBT Hockey Association in the Coachella Valley?

Why do we form LGBT sports organizations? Why is there a need for such a thing? Sadly, the truth is that homophobia and transphobia does exist in our communities. Many of us feel that we live in a place where people can participate in sports in a safe environment and, while we have an amazing and strong LGBT community in the Palm Springs area, we are a diverse collection of nine cities within one broader community.   Same sex parents have seen the impact of homophobia in our schools and sports teams and have seen exclusion from sports and the damage it does to people young and old. This still happens in the Coachella Valley school districts and sports leagues today. That is why we need LGBT people to stand and be advocates for our athletes and our youth.  LGBT adults that participate in sports leagues in the Valley may also find that their teams and the general environment may be non-supportive and even hostile to LGBT issues and therefore, feel uncomfortable or unsafe being themselves.  All of these situations can have negative effects and cause athletes to lose confidence, lack self-esteem or just put unwanted pressure and stress on their lives.

As the Coachella Valley welcomes professional hockey, leagues and teams will begin to form here. The Coachella Valley LGBT Hockey Association is coming together to ensure hockey organizations in the Coachella Valley strive to live up to the tenets of the NHL’s mission of “Hockey is for Everyone” and the important work of the “You Can Play Project”. Challenging a culture of homophobia and transphobia in sports starts with visibility and while waving a pride flag or showing the pride colors is important, it is not enough.

Our Mission is to introduce hockey to the LGBT community and enjoy the great game of hockey in a safe and inclusive space. We are also committed to being a resource for other hockey leagues or teams to help educate players, coaches and parents. We will challenge homophobia and transphobia and ensure that hockey truly is for everyone.  LGBT athletes and advocates will find a safe, supportive home in the CV LGBT Hockey Association. 

The Palm Springs International Gay Hockey Tournament.

On March 23rd, we will welcome ten teams from across North America to our community to celebrate LGBT Hockey!  The Palm Springs International Gay Hockey Tournament will feature players and teams from Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, New York, Chicago, Minnesota, and Los Angeles.  Independent players from across North America, those players who do not have a local LGBT team will also join us.  When we say LGBT, that does not limit us to only LGBT players.  We welcome all advocates and supporters of the  LGBT community to join in on this exciting new event.  We are also very proud to welcome a national Trans Team to participate in the tournament.  

The Home Team

In addition to our amazing friends from across the United States and Canada, we are thrilled to announce that the Coachella Valley has our very own team.  The Coachella Valley Roadrunners will make its debut at the Palm Springs International Gay Hockey Tournament.  A team of LGBT players and supporters from the Coachella Valley and other areas will represent our community in all local and international LGBT hockey tournaments.   We are also proud to announce that the inaugural sponsor of the Coachella Valley Roadrunners is Hunters, Palm Springs https://hunterspalmsprings.com/  Additional sponsors and launch events for the tournament and the association are to be announced.

For more information on The Coachella Valley LGBT Hockey Association visit our website at www.palmspringsgayhockey.org or contact Paul O’Kane at (802)310-7347.