Every one of the 30 NHL teams now has a You Can Play video

by Brandon Harrison
January 19, 2014 8:41 PM |
English: Roman Hamrlik vs. Joffrey Lupul dueli...

In a 2009 article published by ESPN.com, John Buccigross detailed the plight of a young team manager for the Miami-Ohio University Hockey Club. As the team manager told Buccigross, “Middle school and early high school is the first time I remember thinking that I could be gay, but I definitely tried to ignore it and didn't want to seriously consider it. It's pretty easy to try and convince yourself that it's not true, but it won't work, ever.”

That team manager was Brendan Burke, son of the General Manager of 2014 Olympic Hockey Team U.S.A., Brian Burke. The article was Brendan’s official coming out to the world as a gay man attempting to make a living in professional sports. He had quit hockey as a player shortly after making the extremely competitive Varsity hockey team at his prep-school in Boston, citing reasons of playing time and a disconnect with the coach. But it turns out that wasn't the real reason why. The pressure of his father’s success as a front office mogul in the hockey world, and the reputation of his entire family’s toughness placed a large burden on Brendan, one that kept him in the closet until 2007, when he first came out to his father. It was the Burke family toughness that brought Brendan to the forefront of gay rights in professional sports, and started the You Can Play Project, three years after his coming out to the family. The project was a joint effort to raise awareness throughout the NHL -- and nation -- on gay members of our sports teams, both recreational and professional.

Flash forward to 2014. With the latest video by the Colorado Avalanches’ captain, Gabriel Landeskog, every one of the 30 NHL teams has had a player publicly support the You Can Play project and gay players in their locker rooms. It's the first professional sports league of its kind to accomplish this feat. Players from each team have either made public appearances, or recorded videos like the one with the Colorado Avalanche logo front and center below to show their support. They’re not simply a silent partner. Nor is the NHL.

Below, as listed by YouCanPlayProject.org, is a full list of participating players.

Anaheim Ducks – George Parros, Corey Perry

Buffalo Sabres – Jason Pominville

Boston Bruins – Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference

Calgary Flames – Brian Burke, TJ Galiardi, Kevin Westgarth

Colorado Avalanche – Gabe Landeskog

Columbus Blue Jackets – Rick Nash, RJ Umburger

Carolina Hurricanes –Tim Brent, Tim Gleason, Manny Malhotra, Tuomo Ruutu, Kevin Westgarth

Chicago Blackhawks – Duncan Keith, Ben Smith

Dallas Stars – Brenden Morrow

Edmonton Oilers – Jordan Eberle, Ryan Jones, Ryan Whitney

Detroit Red Wings – Daniel Alfredsson

Florida Panthers – Brian Campbell, Ryan Whitney

Los Angeles Kings – Dustin Brown, Alec Martinez

Minnesota Wild – Cal Clutterbuck, Jason Pominville

Montreal Canadiens – Brian Gionta, Douglas Murray, George Parros, Carey Price, Brandon Prust

Nashville Predators – Shea Weber, W. Brett Wilson (owner)

New Jersey Devils – Mark Fayne, Andy Greene

New York Islanders – Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen

New York Rangers – Brian Boyle, Henrik Lundquist, Brandon Prust

Ottawa Senators – Daniel Alfredsson

Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk

Phoenix Coyotes – Mikkel Boedker, Shane Doan, Andy Miele, David Moss, Keith Yandle

Pittsburgh Penguins – Tanner Glass, Brooks Orpik

San Jose Sharks – Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Tommy Wingels

St. Louis Blues – Brian Elliott, Brenden Morrow

Tampa Bay Lighting – Steven Stamkos

Toronto Maple Leafs – Tyler Bozak, Tim Gleason, Joffrey Lupul, Nazim Kadri, Dion Phaneuf, James van Riemsdyk, David Steckel

Vancouver Canucks – Jason Garrison, Tanner Glass, Ryan Kesler, Manny Malhotra, Henrik Sedin

Washington Capitals – Matt Hendricks, Mike Knuble

Winnipeg Jets - Dustin Byfuglien

Image: Roman Hamrlik vs. Joffrey Lupul dueling for position (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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