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Braden Holtby on his ‘You Can Play’ mask and support of LGBTQ rights

Braden Holtby wears his equality-themed mask during Thursday’s practice. (Via
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At Thursday’s practice, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby debuted the equality-themed mask that he will wear during Friday’s game against the Oilers, as part of the Capitals’ celebration of Hockey is for Everyone Night. Holtby, a longtime champion of LGBTQ rights who led the Capitals in last year’s Pride Parade, is the Capitals’ designated You Can Play ambassador, a role that requires him to serve as “a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion.”

Earlier this week, Holtby talked to Monumental Sports Network’s Mike Vogel about why he relishes the responsibility and continues to support LGBTQ rights.

“I’ve never really thought too much about the after effects of doing something like that,” Holtby said of marching in the Pride Parade. “I think that’s something I believe in, I think that’s something my family believes in and the inclusion of others, no matter what they can or can’t control, everyone’s on a level playing field. You should be judged on your personality and your moral ground, not anything else.”

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Holtby’s custom mask will be auctioned off to benefit You Can Play, a nonprofit that works to ensure equality in sports without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I didn’t want it to be too flashy, still wanted it to be Capitals based,” Holtby said. “I think that kind of goes with the inclusion, that it kind of blended into our team and what we believe in here. So, you have the You Can Play logo on one side and Hockey is for Everyone on the other, and the basic Caps logo. It’s very simple and to the point. You know, with the goalie masks, you can get cluttered a lot, so I wanted to make sure you could see the two logos.”

The backplate includes Holtby’s kids’ names, the flags of Saskatchewan and Alberta and the phrase “Carpe Diem.”

“Hopefully we can raise a little bit of money,” Holtby said.