NHL Takes Step to Welcome Gay Players

Hockey league teams up with 'You Can Play' advocacy group

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 4:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – The NHL has taken the biggest step yet of any major sport to welcome gay players, reports the New York Times and Reuters. The league has teamed up with the You Can Play Project, a year-old advocacy group, to educate teams and players and generally raise awareness about homophobia. A heavy emphasis will be placed on working with rookies. No player has come forward as gay in the NHL—or in any of the four big US leagues for that matter—but a founder of You Can Play says the group is preparing for that day.

“We’re ready to do whatever that player wants,” says Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. “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.” The Times offers a tangible example of one possible change: The league might order stadiums to stop using their "kiss cams" to focus on two men in the stands as a joke. Bleacher Report has more.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Jussi Jokinen scores on the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist during a shootout on April 5.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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