‘You Can Play’ Project Against Homophobia Will Make You a Hockey Fan (VIDEO)

Patrick & Brian Burke
Patrick & Brian Burke
If you're not a hockey fan, this latest initiative from the National Hockey League might change your mind. Some of the biggest stars in the NHL came together to create a public service announcement to help promote equality, encouraging the acceptance of LGBT athletes in the sport. It's part of the "You Can Play" project, created by Patrick Burke.

Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, and Corey Perry are among the players featured in the video. It ran on NBC during the New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins game and seen by hockey fans around the country.

If you don't know who Patrick Burke is (I don't blame you if you've never heard of him), he's a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers as well as the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. And the personal reason Patrick created this series of videos is definitely a story that will tug at your heartstrings.

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First, here is the video:

I love how the players' simple message can and should be so obvious: If you can play, then you can play. Doesn't matter what you look like or whom you love. This is the message that Patrick Burke wants all NHL fans and players to embrace because his brother, Brendan, came out in November 2009. Sadly, Brendan was killed two years ago in a car crash when he was only 21.

And the league is more than embracing Patrick's cause: More than 30 players have taped spots, which are going to air throughout the season.

In regards to the video and its message, Patrick said, "It's variations of the idea that all they care about is winning, all they care about is having the best teammates and it doesn't matter if the best teammate happens to be gay or straight."

Patrick's lesson of tolerance and the purpose behind the "You Can Play" project came directly from conversations between Patrick and Brendan before he passed away. When Brendan came out, Patrick said it didn't change a thing between them, and everything that mattered stayed exactly the same.

What a great message to carry on to the sports world, too. Talent is a fantastic equalizer. If you have the skill to win games and the respect of your teammates, no one will care if you're black, blue, purple, gay, straight -- you just want the best players on your team with you. Kudos to the NHL and these talented (and hot) players for taking a stand against homophobia.

What do you think of this initiative? Are you a hockey fan?

 

Image via YouCanPlayProject/YouTube

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