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Article written by Boris Bozic on the 08 Mar 2012 in Hockey,Sports

Courage – that’sNHL Sexual Orientation a word often used to describe hockey players.  When I think of NHL hockey players the following words come to mind – grace, sandpaper, skill, grinder, speed, aggression, artistry and violence.  As fans we’ve come to accept and cherish the juxtaposition that is hockey.  We cheer the poetic grace of a magnificent goal and yet we’re equally comfortable getting out of our seats to witness two players attempting to rearrange each others face with their fists.  Hockey fans are a different breed and at times the sport resembles no other.  Two teams can be engaged in a brutal seven game playoff series,  (we’re not familiar with that in Toronto) and when it’s over both teams will line up at center ice to shake hands.  No other team sport does that.  To me that’s what makes the game and players special.  We can now add other words to describe NHL hockey players – social conscious.

You may have heard by now that NHL players filmed a PSA (Public Service Announcement) entitled “You Can Play”.  If you haven’t heard about it, the PSA is about creating a level playing field in hockey, regardless of sexual orientation.    The man behind the PSA is Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers and the son of Brian Burke, general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Patrick and Brian are honoring Brendan Burke, who was openly gay and tragically killed in an auto accident at the age of 21.  The Burke’s lost a family member, and now they turned to their extended family for help, professional hockey players.

I was blown away when I first saw the PSA.  To have some of the biggest names in the sport supporting the cause and lending their voice to the issue is an act of courage.  No other sport has come close to doing anything like this and they probably never will. I could never see the NFL, NBA or MLB doing this.  Those athletes just aren’t wired the way hockey players are.  There are some nasty and tough players in the NFL.  They’re rip your head off tough – but tough enough to say it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, you’re still my team mate?  I just can’t see it.  Which is probably what caused the ‘wow’ factor for me when I first saw the PSA.  Of all sports only hockey players would do this.

If I take part in a hockey pool next year I will pick the following players, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, Brian Boyle  of the New York Rangers, Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders, Joffery Lupol of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, Daniel Alferdson of the Ottawa Senators, Scott Hartnel of the Philadelphia Flyers, Corey Perry  of the Anaheim Ducks, Andy Greene of the New Jersey Devils, Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Henrik Lundqist of the New York Rangers. 

These guys are tough, and they’ve got courage.  If you want proof, watch the video.

Until next time.


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