press releases & in the news

Check out Seattle Pride Hockey Association in the articles below.

For media/press inquiries, or if you are interested in meeting with us, please email [email protected] or call (206) 627-0005.

SPHA press releases

June 5, 2023

Third annual event on June 9, 10 & 11 aims to grow the sport, create the largest and most inclusive pride hockey tournament in the country.

June 9, 2022

Second annual event on June 18 & 19 aims to grow the game, create the most inclusive pride hockey tournament in the country.

social media & videos


q13 fox news

kiro 7 news

2021 – Part 1

2021 – Part 2


seattle kraken



in the news


The Hockey News


The collective influence of players, sponsors, and advocacy groups scored a victory this week – the reversal of the NHL’s prohibition on the use of “Pride Tape.”

“After consultation with the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition, players will now have the option to voluntarily represent social causes with their stick tape throughout the season,” the league said in a statement.

Seattle Kraken

By Alison Lukan @AlisonL, June 16, 2023

The Seattle Pride Classic is more than just a hockey tournament, it’s a celebration of authenticity for the LGBTQ+ community.

For the past two years, Vanessa Vargas has driven the roughly 300 miles from her home in Spokane to captain a team in the Seattle Pride Classic, organized by the Seattle Pride Hockey Organization. But even as a life-long hockey fan who grew up watching Mighty Ducks and playing for the past 23 years, it’s not really about the games on ice for her.

Good Morning America

A hockey team made up entirely of trans and nonbinary athletes is celebrating gender diversity and queer visibility one game at a time.

Team Trans is an international collective of hundreds of members and is a “vital” safe space for hockey players who identify as transgender. The team travels across North America to play in LGBTQ hockey tournaments.

The Hockey News


Kraken Community Iceplex was never more full of Pride than it was last weekend.

Specifically, 18 teams made up of 260 LGTBQIA2+ players, in a tournament organized by Seattle Pride Hockey Association.

16-year NHL veteran Andrew Ference represented the league in his current role as Director of Social Impact, Growth & Fan Development. “This is a little bit out of the ordinary, where I get eight hours in my skates just playing hockey and having a ton of fun.”

The Seattle Times

By Geoff Baker, June 8, 2023 at 2:56 pm

Mason LeFebvre carries two sets of goalie masks in his equipment bag — one a generic black and the other rainbow colored — when he plays in a hockey tournament that isn’t familiar to him.

As a transgender player, feeling safe among teammates and spectators watching from the stands is of utmost importance. LeFebvre, a 29-year-old transgender man, is in town from Wisconsin for this weekend’s third annual Seattle Pride Classic tournament for LGBTQ+ players at the Kraken Community Iceplex and grew up playing girls hockey.


Seattle Pride Magazine

By A.V. Eichenbaum, Winter 2022/23 Edition

IT WAS RAINBOW-COLORED TAPE THAT BROUGHT Seattle Pride Hockey Association (SPHA) founders Joey Gale and Steven Thompson together in 2018. Thompson, who was working with the Greater Seattle Hockey League—now called the Kraken Hockey League—met Gale at a skate evaluation for local teams.

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USA Hockey

By Steve Drumwright, 06/25/22, 2:30PM MDT

The tournament more than doubled in size from last year.


To say that Aimee Taylor enjoyed herself the weekend of June 18-19 was an understatement. She could be herself, letting her ever-present guard down because she was among a community of folks like her and playing the game she loves.

The Seattle Times

By Geoff Baker – June 17, 2022 at 9:05 am Updated June 17, 2022 at 6:25 pm

Gilbert Villalpando grew up shunning sports in his native Texas, feeling excluded as a “skinny, scrawny kid” who also secretly happened to be gay.


Beyond the physical disparities, which others around him singled out, Villalpando, 42, also struggled mentally to relate to an aggressively masculine and sometimes misogynistic mindset on playing fields and in locker rooms. “I was already being treated differently and on top of that it wasn’t a comfortable environment,” he said.

William Douglas | @DouglasNHL | June 14, 2022

More than half of 146 players expected to participate part of LGBTQI+ community.

This June, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association’s joint Hockey Is For Everyone initiative will celebrate Pride Month. All 32 NHL Clubs, alumni, and current players will participate in pride events, including parades, across North America. As part of Pride Month, will share stories about the LGBTQI+ hockey community. Today, a look at the Seattle Pride Classic hockey tournament.

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 1, 2022

During the June 18 and 19 weekend, there will Pride-themed public skating session at the Iceplex. On the 18th the Pride- themed skate beings at 6:15pm, on the 19th skaters can hop on the ice at 4 p.m. Follow Kraken Community Iceplex on social media and look for more details in the coming days. Plus, make plans watch some of the action that weekend in the Seattle Pride Hockey Classic.


The Seattle Times

By Crystal Paul – Oct. 24, 2021 at 6:00 am Updated Oct. 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm

Rainbow-colored tape flashed on the blades of hockey sticks as they struck the ice. On players’ helmets, pronouns were written next to their names — he/him, she/her, they/them. Players competed under the banners of teams named after LGBTQ+ icons like “Team Marsha P. Johnson,” “Team Harvey Milk,” and “Team Laverne Cox.”

NBC Sports


The Seattle Pride Hockey Association, also known as SPHA, is a Seattle nonprofit organization which is geared towards the growth of ice hockey through diversity and inclusion.T

One of the league’s motto is “anyone over age 18 with an open mind and a love for hockey is welcome.”

We caught up with co-founders Steven Thompson and Joey Gale earlier this month to find out more.

Seattle Kraken

Andy Eide | @AndyEide | June 23, 2021

The first annual Seattle Pride Hockey Classic, presented by Symetra, staged this past weekend, was a huge success from round-robin to championship game judging from smiles, handshake and camaraderie.

Thanks to a ferocious four-goal third period at Olympic View Ice Arena in Mountlake Terrace on Sunday, Team Marsha came back for a 5-3 victory over Team Edie to win the first-ever Symetra Cup during the weekend’s Seattle Pride Classic, presented by Symetra.

William Douglas | @DouglasNHL | June 17, 2021

Almost here and long anticipated, the first annual Seattle Pride Classic presented by Symetra skates into existence this weekend. Four teams, 56 players, hundreds of likely fans, two co-founders and a Kraken team broadcaster will mark the occasion.

It is now just days until the first puck drop of this weekend’s first-ever Seattle Pride Classic presented by Symetra, but the hockey event is years in the making.

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 17, 2021

Almost here and long anticipated, the first annual Seattle Pride Classic presented by Symetra skates into existence this weekend. Four teams, 56 players, hundreds of likely fans, two co-founders and a Kraken team broadcaster will mark the occasion.

It is now just days until the first puck drop of this weekend’s first-ever Seattle Pride Classic presented by Symetra, but the hockey event is years in the making.

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 16, 2021

Kraken supporting two-day event promoting participation by LBGTQ+ community, others.

Steven Thompson didn’t know what to expect when he began playing hockey in Seattle four years ago.

“I was very nervous and afraid of the unknown,” he said. “What kind of people would I come across? What kind of personalities, attitudes? Being a gay player, I didn’t know what to expect.”

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 10, 2021

Last June, Steven Thompson and Joey Gale were standing down on holding the first-ever Seattle Pride Hockey Association invitational event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the co-founders of SPHA were far from standing still.

The evidence comes into full view next weekend, June 19 and 20, when the Seattle Pride Classic 2021, presented by Symetra, drops the puck at Olympic View Arena in Mountlake Terrace for the first of what no doubt will be many ‘Classics’ in the Junes of our future. This year’s version will feature four teams and 56 players.

Pride Tape Hockey Stick

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 1, 2021

June represents a month to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community for its history, ‘new wins for equality’ and an inaugural Seattle Pride Hockey Association tournament.

As Seattle and the region prepares for a month-long Pride celebration of our LGBTQIA+ community, anchored by a two-day Seattle Pride virtual “Resilience” event June 26 and 27, the Kraken, in partnership with First Founding Partner Symetra, will keep pace with the festivities.

2020 articles

Steven Thompson

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 28, 2020

As co-founder of the new Seattle Pride Hockey Association, Steven Thompson is well-equipped to stand for inclusion in the sport at the local level

As a school kid growing up in Seattle, Steven Thompson’s dad took him to see Seattle Thunderbirds games in the Western Hockey League, including any number on the Seattle Center campus. He remembers his dad most always purchased seats along the front-row glass, making it tradition for Thompson to bang on the glass when T-Birds skated his way.

Pride Roundtable 2020

Seattle Kraken

Bob Condor | @ByBobCondor | June 23, 2020

NHL Seattle to team up with Symetra, Seattle Pride Hockey Association and You Can Play for a roundtable discussion on the nature of allyship, inclusivity in hockey and more


As a warmup for the upcoming virtual “Together for Pride” weekend here in the city, NHL Seattle and its first founding partner, Symetra, will present an online “Pride Roundtable” that will be posted Wednesday.

Pride Tape Stick & Pucks

Seattle Kraken

Erica L. Ayala | June 22, 2020

As the this June’s Pride celebration goes virtual, NHL Seattle and partner organizations look for deeper, year-round engagement with underrepresented communities.

Seattle is known for many things: Jimi Hendricks, coffee, the Space Needle and one day it’s new NHL team. The city is also known for its Pride celebration, according to You Can Play director of partnerships and development, Jonas Worth. All the more reason when he first met with NHL Seattle last November, he was adamant the club foster relationships with local organizations.

SB Nation | OutSports

By Alex Reimer | May 8, 2020, 7:49am PDT

Tens of thousands of LGBT people participate in sports leagues across the country, where they find friendship and comfort.

2019 article

Joey Gale MVP

SB Nation | OutSports

By Joey J. Gale Updated Jul 4, 2019, 3:34pm PDT

One of my closest college mentors passed on a lesson that has stayed with me since my years at Drake University. “Regardless of how big or small, do something every day to queer the space around you.”

I’ve carried this charge with me into my professional career since graduating. But it’s the pushback and challenges against it in the hyper-masculine sport of hockey that has taught me so much more.


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