The Monday After: We are all Sully

Zach Sullivan made a big announcement on social media during the EIHL Pride Weekend (PHOTO: Mark Ferriss)

We are all Sully

If anybody looked for a reason why the Elite League staged a Pride Weekend to spread the message of love, tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity, you only need to see the social media posts from Manchester Storm defenceman Zach Sullivan to understand this.

Sullivan openly came out as bisexual in an emotional post where he revealed it had affected his mental health and after acceptance from his family and his teammates, felt the time was right to share this.

He took a hugely courageous step this weekend and all the love, respect and pride he’s received from the replies he got will have humbled him beyond words.  Sully took a big step and deserves everything good that comes from it.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Zach for a few years now since he first moved to what was Braehead Clan in 2014 and to see him go from the shy youngster, worried about doing interviews in case he said the wrong thing or sounded stupid to what he posted is absolutely incredible.

It can’t have been easy for him to post and clearly, the Pride Weekend has given him the confidence to be able to announce this.  For that, it’s delivered exactly what it was meant to be about.

I wrote last week about why this weekend matters and the message it’s spread and looking back on the previous three days, to see so many people don the rainbow colours and help promote this, it’s more than fair to say, the Elite League have more than done a good thing here.

They are bashed relentlessly throughout the season, but the media exposure it’s brought and the links it has forged because of the Pride/You Can Play message, you have to give a lot of credit where it’s due.

To me, it doesn’t matter what sexual orientation someone is. I would even go so far as to say I don’t care and people posting to ask crass questions about “when’s heterosexual weekend?” aren’t worth the oxygen, quite frankly.

This has been an all out success and I expect the league to fully embrace this next year, if they haven’t already, given the reaction and appreciation for it.

Pride and the message of inclusivity and belonging was spread throughout the Elite League this weekend (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

And if more and more players feel comfortable enough to take the same leap as Zach Sullivan, then the message of being part of something, no matter who or what you are, will only grow stronger.

I don’t think Zach expected to get the attention he has, but his announcement could be a pioneering one, not only for ice hockey players in this country, but perhaps other sportsmen and women.  

Let’s hope so and while Sully may be wrong on who the best footballer in the world is (he says Cristiano Ronaldo, but we all know it’s Lionel Messi), he has the biggest respect from me and all his peers and the fans.

We are all Sully!

Manchester and Dundee are locked in a four-way battle for the bottom two play-off places (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

Play-off battle getting tense

It was quite a weekend in the battle for the top eight and with Glasgow Clan, Manchester Storm, Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers firmly locked in a battle for the bottom two places, it’s hard to call.

Glasgow beating Fife and Manchester taking care of Dundee certainly looks favourable from their point of view as things stand and the two results have certainly not helped Fife at all.

They are seven points from the line and need to win four in a row to really make it tight.  Considering they haven’t done that since the start of the season, that’s perhaps unlikely, even for the more ardent positive Flyers fan.

With Clan to play Manchester and Dundee in the coming weeks, plus Fife facing the Storm, these are the games that will define who makes it to the post season show.  It’s going to be great.

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