Vezina Trophy finalist Braden Holtby will represent the Washington Capitals in the annual Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, which the goaltender hopes is just the start of his involvement in the gay-rights movement.
Holtby and his wife, Brandi, were planning to attend the parade anyway, and he was honored when asked by the organization to participate. Holtby and other team representatives will walk in conjunction with the organization You Can Play, which has worked with the NHL to promote tolerance.
"We've been wanting to get involved a little bit more and more with that," Holtby said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Everyone kind of has their charities or their causes that mean something to them and they want to participate in. This is one that's very high up on the list for us."
Holtby said he and his wife strongly believe that people should be treated fairly and equally. Brandi Holtby's Twitter bio features the Harvey Milk quote: "It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual."
You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke noticed it and said the Holtby family has been "a huge supporter" of the organization for years. Burke is the son of Brian Burke, the Calgary Flames director of hockey operations. Patrick started the group two years after his brother Brendan, who was gay, died in a car accident in 2010.
Holtby just finished his second full season as the Capitals' starting goaltender. He tied Martin Brodeur's single-season wins record with 48, ranked sixth in the league with a 2.20 goals-against average and ranked eighth with a .922 save percentage.
The 26-year-old Holtby is considered the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie when the awards are given out June 22 in Las Vegas.
Holtby, who signed a $30.5 million, five-year contract last summer, is still growing into his role as one of the faces of the Capitals' franchise. Doing off-ice events like the Pride Parade is just another step.
"It creates more of an opportunity to create good, to do things that means something to yourself and you think that are beneficial to society," Holtby said. "Hopefully, every year coming we do more and more to create an effect."
Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno .