Kiruna IF plays Division 1 hockey in Sweden, two levels down from the Elite League. Until recently, their colours have been red and white -- pretty standard hockey apparel there. But the new jerseys will feature red in the collar only. After that, it's diagonal stripes of orange, yellow, green, and blue.
Beginning next season, the team will be sporting a rainbow-coloured jersey, not just for a few games, but all year, as part of their bid to become the first LGBT-certified sports team in the country. Look at this hot mess:
The team explained the decision and their stated pursuit in a release:
A core value of Kiruna IF is that anyone who wants to participate shall be able to participate on equal terms and be treated with respect. For the club’s elite program a broad recruitment base is a vital prerequisite for reaching talented young people with the will to invest in elite training. Through LGBT certification, Kiruna IF take one step further and aim to become a source of inspiration in the work for acceptance and diversity in Swedish hockey, while at the same time playing an active role in the building of a new and more attractive Kiruna. The hope is that if the most laddish sport in the most laddish city takes a stand, others will soon catch on!
But the team isn't simply content to wear garish sweaters in solidarity. Although that's hardly nothing: being skating ambassadors for LGBT rights during, as they said, "the most laddish sport" (such a great word) takes some guts. Beyond that, however, they'll also be giving talks in schools and participarting in local events that increase understanding and acceptance.
I applaud their bravery here. I also applaud their use of the adjective "laddish", which means "characteristic of male adolescents, esp in being rowdy, macho, or immature." It's a great word choice, since I'm far more willing to hear arguments that hockey is indeed the most laddish sport than arguments that it's the toughest.