Braden Holtby will lead a contingent of Monumental Sports employees in Saturday’s Capital Pride Parade, the Caps announced on Monday.
The Monumental contingent, whose members will wear #RockTheRainbow shirts, will also include Caps mascot Slapshot, cheering squad members from the Wizards, Caps and Mystics, and other Monumental staff members. But Holtby — a Vezina Trophy finalist who was regarded as Washington’s most valuable player this season — will be the most prominent face in the group, and likely the most prominent local athlete to march in recent memory.
“I am honored to represent the Capitals and participate in this important event that shines light on the contributions the LGBT community makes every day,” Holtby said in a statement. “I believe in equality for all people and I look forward to showing my support along with our organization and fans.”
There have long been sports elements in the Capital Pride parade; the Nationals Racing Presidents have marched in the event, as have a variety of local sports clubs. Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe is a former grand marshal of the parade, which travels about a mile and a half through downtown, and begins Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (The event is also just a few days before the Nats’ annual Night Out event, which has been supported by the wives of several Nats stars.)
The Caps’ participation is in conjunction with the You Can Play Project, a group that works to ensure equality in sports without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. A host of other NHL teams have participated in similar events; Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference has marched in the Edmonton event, Sharks forward Tommy Wingels has marched in the Chicago event; and the Stanley Cup itself marched in the Chicago parade last year, for a second time.