Skip to main content

Earlier today, the NHL and the NHLPA announced what may be the first effort of its kind to support LGBT players.  The NHL and NHLPA have partnered with the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to fighting homophobia in the sports world, to lend support to LGBT NHL players.

The You Can Play Project was founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke in March 2012 in memory of Brendan Burke, Patrick’s younger brother and the son of former NHL GM Brian Burke.

Brendan Burke, who had revealed his homosexuality to his family in 2007, died in a car accident in 2010 while working as a student manager and video assistant for the men’s hockey team at Miami (Ohio) University.

“The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support,” Patrick Burke said in a statement. “We will work with League and NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels.”

You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL’s rookie symposium and make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired.

The NHL and its players will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program to enable players to confidentially seek counselling or simply ask questions regarding matters of sexual orientation.

Burke appeared with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to announce the rollout of the partnership earlier today.  Watch it here:

While all four major North American leagues forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation, this is believed to be the first partnership between a league and a gay advocacy organization.

Burke told the NYT that given the league's demographics, this partnership makes perfect sense.

“We have players from around the world, and a lot of those players are from countries that are seen as more progressive on LGBT issues,” Burke said. “So I don’t think it’s unreasonable or strange to think that the N.H.L. and the N.H.L.P.A. are driving this, in part because our players tend to be more comfortable with this issue.”

Burke added that laying the groundwork for an openly gay player was not an official part of the program.

“But we’re ready to do whatever that player wants,” he said. “If he wants to do a thousand interviews and march in pride parades, we’re equipped to handle that. And if he wants us to pass-block for him so he never has to do another interview in his life, we’re equipped to handle that, too.”

For those who don't know, the great majority of NHL players come from Canada, which has long been much more supportive of gay rights than the States.  A significant portion of NHL players also come from northern Europe, which is also very gay-friendly.

To find out more about You Can Play, check out their Website.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Milk Men And Women, and The Wide World of Sports.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site