By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

Compete Sports Diversity’s John Deffee, SDLT; Eric Carlyle, SDLT; Tyler Noragon, SDLT all took part in the official Arizona Coyote’s Pride Night where they played against the NJ Devils on March 5th, 2023. Prior to the game, the Arizona Coyotes Kicked off the festivities with Pride on the Patio in partnership with Compete Sports Diversity and CAN Community Health.

The event was supported and attended by representatives from PGFFL, Cactus Cities Softball League, LLF Sports, Lynn Lewis Foundation. International Gay Rodeo Association, MollyTommy and included entertainment performances from Voices of the Desert and Cheer Arizona.

“NHL team, the Arizona Coyotes, hosting their first Pride event, Pride on the Patio, was exciting to see first-hand the support, inclusion, and celebration of everyone in our Valley Community.” said John Deffee, Vice President of Partnerships for Compete Sports Diversity.

The event was open to all and included activities such as fun games and face painting, meet and Greet with World Champion Racquetball Athlete Rhonda Rajsich, and special appearances by Coyotes CEO Xavier Gutirrez and Coyotes’ team mascot, Howler.

“What a great time at Pride on the Patio with the AZ Coyotes! It was an honor to meet the owner of the team and all of the Coyotes’ staff who came together to showcase diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our community. It was a fantastic crowd and extremely supportive leaders coming together for a strong event. A huge thank you to everyone who came out to support Pride on the Patio, looking forward to many more in the future!” said Rhonda Rajsich, Racquetball World Champion, and DEI Advocate.

In the end, the match was close, but the NJ Devils managed to get ahead of the Coyotes, finishing the game 5-4 but a good time was had by all who came to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride and diversity.

Photo Credit: John Deffee, SDLT.