Manchester Storm’s Zach Sullivan revealed he is bisexual on Sunday to mark the Elite Ice Hockey League’s first pride weekend.
Sullivan is believed to be the first ice hockey player to come out as bisexual.
Taking to Twitter the player said: “With this being the first ever EIHL #PrideWeekend I feel now is the best time to speak about what I have known for many years.
“I have battled with mental health problems over this issue and with the support, understanding and acceptance from my family, friends and teammates, I finally feel ready to say; I’m bisexual.”
The 25-year-old’s statement came during the EIHL’s first pride weekend to celebrate inclusivity and diversity in the sport.
The teams in the league wore special jerseys during games at the weekend to commemorate the event.
— Zach Sullivan (@ZachSully11) January 26, 2020
“I have never been more proud to wear a jersey before, especially one that celebrates all gender identities and sexualities,” said the defenceman.
“I’m not doing this in the hope of any publicity. I’ve always been a very private guy, but I realise that I have a unique opportunity to do some good,” he added in a following statement.
“If I can be open and honest about my sexuality, then hopefully that will give other hockey players around the country the same confidence to do the same.”
Sullivan’s statement was met with an overwhelming positive response and support from the ice hockey community.
He received a standing ovation from fans at the Altrincham Ice Dome during Sunday’s home game when he took to the ice for an honorary faceoff.
The club’s official twitter account tweeted: “We are all extremely proud of you, Zach! You’re a role model for so many people, young and old, in the sporting world. Someone knowing they can be themselves is a true testament to everything our club and sport stand for.”
Manchester Storm Captain Dallas Ehrhardt said: “I’ve known Sully for a few years now and have got to know how great of a teammate he is, but more importantly, got to know him as an even better individual.
“When he told the room, we couldn’t be happier for our teammate and we 100% have his back. The hockey world is a tight knit supportive community and when something as important like this happens, the whole sport gets better.
“Couldn’t be happier for Sully and look forward to battling with you on our playoff push.”