Philadelphia Flyers scout, Patrick Burke, is the founder of the You Can Play Project, an organization that is committed to fighting homophobia in sports. Since it’s creation, this program has garnered support from over 100 NHL players who have already participated in various activities to support the inclusion of gay teammates. On Thursday afternoon, the NHL and NHLPA formally announced their partnership with the You Can Play Project, which will include a commitment to the education and training of teams, players, media and fans, as well as the creation of more public service announcements. According to the official release, this partnership “formalizes and advances the long-standing commitment to make the NHL the most inclusive sports league in the world.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke about the partnership today, stating:
“Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way. While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”
The You Can Play Project is committed to making its resources available to each team and encouraging players to seek guidance or counseling as desired regarding matters of sexual orientation. In addition, the program will conduct seminars for young prospects to educate them on LGBT issues. This partnership is a massive step towards creating an accepting atmosphere for not only gay hockey players, but gay athletes everywhere.
KUDOS TO THE NHL!