Could Rochester become a hub for LGBT 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.
The teams will play from Friday, July 19, to Sunday, July 21, which coincides with Rochester's Pride Parade, festival, and picnic.
"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."
Officials plan to grow the games in subsequent years, Woodworth says.
"Once we talked about this thing, we realized [it] 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."
They're aiming to have six to eight hockey teams compete this year, and next year expand the games to include volleyball and softball, for example. Roc City Roller Derby will also participate this year with bouts on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20.
"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: www.rocpridegames.com.