Now that the thrill and chaos of June has settled into the doldrums of August, I have some time to reflect on our draft party and how much it meant to all of us. This was my first time spearheading a Broad Street Hockey event and I was blown away by the support -- by 6:30pm there was no room for another human body inside the bar. The event was a huge success and the draft itself was arguably better.
Which is why this is such a bummer to write, but I owe an explanation. The day before the event — literally 24 hours before — an article from Philly Voice was brought to our attention. This article outlined a variety of tasteless signs that were prominently displayed throughout the years in the front window of a certain bar. That bar was the location of our draft party. This was incredibly disappointing for a variety of reasons, which I will get to, but I want to explain how we dealt with it.
There was a flurry of activity; everyone at Broad Street Hockey discussing how we were going to deal with this. Charlie and I were on a flight back to Philadelphia from Las Vegas (I was in the middle of my fifth viewing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) when Charlie got my attention about there being a situation. Travis was on a separate flight to Chicago gathering as much information as possible. There was a lot of back and forth but within the hour we decided that we could neither cancel the party nor change the location.
We knew we already had many guests coming from out of town, many of which had booked hotels in the area for the night. There were also business decisions that had to be made. Contracts were signed, someone would be held liable if we didn’t show up, and budding partnerships would be irreparable. This was our first joint event with WIP, it was not as simple as finding another venue. By the time both planes landed, we decided to carry on as planned and address it afterwards.
I wasn’t sure then if I made the right call. I still don’t know if I made the right call. But the event was a success and everyone had fun.
Broad Street Hockey is here to be the voice of The Fan. What this means is we want to talk to you, unless you’re a Penguins fan. We want people to feel comfortable and heard. This damn team puts us through enough; we don’t need it from within the community. And that is what I truly feel we have built, and are continuing to build: a community of long suffering, committed Flyers fans from all walks of life, all over the world.
I went into this night, my big night, with all of these thoughts swirling. I checked, and double checked, and triple checked comfort levels with all the members of BSH. I was very, very aware of the fact that I was bringing friends into an environment that, from the very signs in their own building, treat women as lesser-than. People were coming from all parts of the Greater Philly area, and I was putting them into a potentially uncomfortable position. This is not something I take lightly. I know sometimes it takes a lot for internet people to socialize, and I could not shake the feeling that I was about to let everyone down.
It ended up being a ton of anxiety for naught. The party was great, the signs were reasonable, Nolan Patrick became a Flyer, and everyone had a wonderful time. If I had known about the reputation of this venue with enough time to change it, I would have. I will do better next time. That’s my commitment to the community, I will do better to find locations that match what we stand for and who we are.