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NHL 1st US Pro-League to Support LGBT Rights

Thursday Jan 9, 2014
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Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog  (Source:JULIE JACOBSON/AP PHOTO.)

How does a hyper-masculine sport historically dominated by white players put itself in the forefront of LGBT equality among North American professional sports leagues? In the case of the National Hockey League, it was as simple making a video.

The NHL made history yesterday with the release of a video PSA featuring the captain of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team spreading the message of inclusiveness in sports regardless of race or sexual identity.

In a statement released by the NHL , the PSA, which features Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and a group of high school students is an effort to promote the You Can Play Project to member schools of the Colorado High School Activities association. Ladeskog’s involvement in the video project means that all thirty NHL teams have participated in a You Can Play Project video, making the league the only major professional sports association in North American to have full participation for an LGBT cause.

Securing Landeskog as the Avalanche spokesman for the video was quite the coup for You Can Play. The 21-year-old left-winger is from Stockholm, Sweden being no stranger to making history in the NHL. His rookie of the year performance in the 2011-2012 lead Landeskog at age 19 to become the youngest captain in the league’s history. This text will be the linkIn 2013, he was named by Vanity Fair as one of the "Ten Best Dressed In The NHL."

According to Wikipedia , You Can Play is a social activism campaign dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in sports, centered around the slogan, "If you can play, you can play." The campaign was launched on March 4, 2012, by its three co-founders: Patrick Burke (a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers ), Brian Kitts, and Glenn Witman .The campaign was precipitated by the death of Brendan Burke, son of Brian and brother of Patrick.

The organization’s goal is to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play aims to foster an environment where LGBT athletes feel welcome in the locker room and in the stands.


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