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 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.
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.
The Cutting Edges became a registered society on March 10, 1998.
The Cutting Edges Gay Men's Hockey Club of Vancouver.
- 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, 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.
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.
When we first approached the league in 1994, it had already been going for a year and was looking to expand. When we first made our pitch for a gay team, they were taken back. 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 started to get really nervous. 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.
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.
Today we still fight to be treated as equal and everyday we are winning that fight.