The Cutting Edges is a LGBT Hockey Club based in Vancouver. We field 3 teams that play in a recreational hockey league at UBC’s Point Grey Campus. The 28 game season goes from September to May, with games taking place on evenings and weekends. The league has a mix of skills, and no hitting or fighting.
The Cutting Edges had their start 25 years ago! At the time, it seemed like a crazy idea: form a gay hockey team in Vancouver to compete in the 1994 Gay Games in New York. So how do you find gay hockey players?
Starting from scratch in late 1993/early 1994 meant putting up notices at the West End Community Centre and at Little Sisters’ Bookstore. It meant phoning friends, and friends of friends, some of whom hadn’t played in years, to persuade them to come out and play. It meant having to ‘come out of the closet’ twice: first, as a hockey player in the gay community and secondly, as a gay athlete among hockey players.
A sizable number of the former considered hockey to be such a bastion of heterosexism and homophobia that no self-respecting queer would be caught dead playing the sport. The latter were convinced that no homo could possibly play such a man’s sport. At least, that’s the way it seemed in 1994.
Despite the odds, we managed to pull together a team of eight players to participate in Unity ’94: Gay Games IV and Cultural Festival. During a mid-June heat wave in New York City, The Cutting Edges boarded the subway and travelled south to play in a rink on Coney Island, about 100 metres away from the famous parachute drop. In five games, the vastly outnumbered Cutting Edges managed to tie once.
All four losses were by relatively close scores. Oh yeah: we also had a great time.
The Cutting Edges became a registered society on March 10, 1998.
Our legal name is The Cutting Edges Gay Men’s Hockey Club of Vancouver.
We’re registered under the Society Act as Number S-38043 with the Registrar of Companies, Victoria, B.C.
There is lots to learn about us.. just ask.
We’ve got lots of stuff to tell, but apparently everyone’s drunk at the bar …still. So we’ll tell more later…
- March 10, 1998 Cutting Edges are registered as a non-profit society in the province of British Columbia
- June 20, 2004 Cutting Edges win the 2004 Chelsea Challenge in New York City 2-1 over the NYC Orphans
- August 5, 2006 Cutting Edges win double gold at the 2006 Montreal OutGames with a 1-0 overtime shootout win over the Toronto Demolition and a convincing 10-3 win over the Montreal Dragons
After the New York Gay Games, a core group of players realized they had so much fun playing on a gay hockey team, they wanted to keep the team together for regular competition. We managed to get involved as a gay team in an adult, recreational league at Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre at the University of B.C.
The idea behind the league is to provide, at as low a cost as possible, several different levels of play to accommodate those who played as youngsters but haven’t strapped on their skates in several years, and more advanced players.
The Cutting Edges field 3 teams: 2 more recreational team in a ‘beer league’ and one more competitive team. Whether you’re a novice, intermediate or advanced player, being on a Cutting Edges team means you’re competing against players of roughly similar skill levels.
All divisions of the league prohibit body-checking and fighting. The emphasis is on recreational, fun hockey in a competitive environment. We’re often asked what’s it like playing hockey as out gay teams in a straight league. It’s been much better than most of us initially imagined. When we first approached the league in 1994, it had already been going for a year and was looking to expand. Some of us had played a few games as individuals on some of the teams so we were at least recognizable faces to the league organizers.
When we first made our pitch for a gay team, they were taken aback. They just never imagined that they’d be dealing with out gay hockey players. But they said yes and all of a sudden, we were in.
As the start of the season approached, we were the ones who stated to get really nervous. How would the other teams treat a gay hockey team? Would it get really violent? Would there be lots of homophobic slurs and asides? Well, as it turned out, our imaginations were far more extreme than reality. With a few individual exceptions, we were treated like any other team. The referees were fair, the other players played hockey and we weren’t forced to defend our homosexual honor in a bench-clearing donnybrook. True, we did lose more games than we won but at least we were there, playing hockey week after week. Perhaps things turned out so well because we looked so smart in our white and teal San Jose Sharks home jerseys and matching socks.
And when a few individual players clearly indicated they couldn’t deal with competing against gay hockey players-either by excessive body-checking or homophobic slurs or both-the league acted quickly. Attacking someone on the grounds of their sexual orientation was equated with doing the same to someone because of their ethnicity or religion. The homophobic players were promptly kicked out of the league.
It’s not as if sexual orientation isn’t on the minds of players on the other teams in the league. The other teams do play a little harder when they know they’re playing against the Gay Team. That’s not surprising, really, given that they’re just regular guys who have never knowingly played against a bunch of homosexuals in teal before. In 1997, one of our fans overheard the following comment by one of the other straight players in the bar at the rink during one of our games:
‘When The Cutting Edges hug, they really mean it.’
It made us laugh because of its subtle homophobia and its plain deceit. Of course straight guys like to hug — that’s why they play hockey.
History is so last year.
Our main purposes as a society are to:
- Provide a friendly, fun environment for gay hockey players and any other hockey players wishing to participate.
- Provide positive exposure of the gay community within the wider society by maintaining competitive teams in recreational leagues and tournaments.
- Promote a sense of self-esteem and well-being among gay hockey players through fair play and skill development.
Our secondary purposes as a society are to:
- Raise funds to assist in carrying out the above purposes by asking for money from corporations, businesses and individuals, and by organizing business activities under the Society Act and permitted by a charitable organization under the Income Tax Act.
- Contribute a portion of funds raised to other non-profit or charitable groups in the gay community.
- Organize social activities for members and supporters
2018-2019 Board of Directors
President: Peter Lipscombe
Vice President: Benny Low
Treasurer: Darrell Oakford
Secretary: Trevor Loke
Members at Large:
BierCraft Cutting Edges: Dexter Dusseault
Fountainhead Cutting Edges: Trevor MacNeil
City Team Cutting Edges: Rod Gibson