Could Rochester become a hub for gay sporting events? That’s what officials at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley and Bill Gray’s Iceplex, a multi-sport arena on the MCC campus, envision. In conjunction with Rochester’s Pride Week this year, ROC Pride Games will launch with a hockey tournament.
“Rochester has a huge hockey community and we’re right in the center of all of the hockey enthusiast cities,” says Chris Woodworth, director of marketing and programming at Bill Gray’s Iceplex. “We’re the epicenter of gay-specific hockey with all of these teams within six hours from here.”
ROC Pride Games will start with hockey this year, Woodworth says, and grow in subsequent years.
“Once we talked about this thing, we realized this thing could really grow and become huge,” Woodworth says. “Year one will focus on hockey and be small scale so we can learn what works from it.”
This year will have six to eight hockey teams, and next year could grow to include volleyball and softball, for example.
The teams will play from Friday, July 19, to Sunday, July 21, which coincides with Rochester’s Pride Parade, festival, and picnic.
Woodworth says the Monroe County Sports Commission, which helped organize the event, was extremely enthusiastic when they heard about the idea for ROC Pride Games. The event could have a significant economic impact on the city, Woodworth says.
“We are doing something that no one else in the country has done: showcase amateur athletic competition as a way to enhance pride in our community,” says Scott Fearing, acting director of the GAGV.
More information is available at www.rocpridegames.com.