Sept. 7, 2022

Olympic Oval’s first-ever Pride Skate a success

Event launches a new annual recreational public skating event
Skaters at Pride event at Oval
Skaters at the Olympic Oval's first Pride Skate.

Olympic Oval staff blew up hundreds of balloons, set up décor and danced up a storm while setting the stage for the facility’s first-ever Pride Skate on Aug 31.

The event, dubbed Come Out, Come Skate, Wherever You Are, saw hundreds of guests arriving after 6 p.m., showing off their colours and pride.

“It was so much fun to see everyone come together and celebrate one another — I can’t wait for this to grow in the years to come,” says Kaitlyn de Boer, guest relations supervisor at the Oval.

The night also featured the Oval’s sticks and pucks, where guests could use sticks and pucks on the ice. Players from the Calgary Pioneers (a Calgary inclusive-hockey association) showed up with their rainbow-taped hockey sticks and took to the ice, as well.

Oval staff had been planning for weeks to ensure the event would be a success. Juggling a complex speed-skating competition schedule, high-performance training and varsity athletics requires a lot of finesse. Now, the Pride Skate has been added to this list, as it will be a permanent annual event.

“Calgary Pride is such a great time in the city. The Oval is happy to add a sport-focused activity for the whole family to take part in highlighting Pride," says Kerry Dankers, BSc'10, the Oval's business relations manager. "Our intention is for this to be a staple UCalgary event, like the annual Oval Family Day Skate. More importantly, the Pride Skate will always be a safe, fun and inclusive event,”

The Oval’s Spotify cranked out Pride-themed tunes for everyone as skaters raced around the Fastest Ice in the World. After a 30°C day, it was also the perfect way to beat the heat.

“We all had such a great time at the first Pride Skate and hope this becomes an annual event," says recreational skater and former speedskater, Hamish MacPherson. "Seeing the many Pride flags worn by skaters show that progress continues, and sporting spaces are inclusive for everyone.”

What we can expect in the years to come

The Pride Skate will continue to grow in the years to come, organizers promise. It will be bigger, more colourful and more exciting. However, the Oval’s commitment to Pride is for everyday inclusivity.

“Everyone is welcome at the Olympic Oval every day, regardless of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. We want to show our Pride every day, and this skate is one small step towards that,” says the Oval's interim director, Mark Messer.

Learn more about recreational public skating at the University of Calgary's Olympic Oval by visiting