"If you can skate, you can play"
January 16, 2013 8:27 AM   Subscribe

The You Can Play project was created by GForce sports, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and his son Patrick Burke to ensure that LGBT athletes have equal opportunity in professional hockey.

In the year since the project launched, their message has expanded to include not just players, but also staff, owners, and fans in many sports with the simple message "If you can play, you can play."

Patrick Burke speaks about unrealized potential in this poignant post about his brother Brendan Burke whose death in a car accident in 2010 was the impetus for this project. (previously)
posted by jessamyn (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Glad that our local team, the Peoria Rivermen, recently did a video for this project (linked above).
posted by sbutler at 9:29 AM on January 16, 2013

This tweet from Patrick, sent the day Brian Burke was turfed by the Leafs, was really touching.
posted by avocet at 10:22 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The "L" in "LGBT" stands for "Lesbian" IIRC. Are they talking about letting women play hockey?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:35 AM on January 16, 2013

There's nothing in the rules that says women can't play in the NHL. A female goaltender played a couple of preseason games in the 90s.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:41 AM on January 16, 2013

A-and there was Cleo Birdwell, too.
posted by chavenet at 11:19 AM on January 16, 2013

Yes, I think they're letting women play hockey. Hockey doesn't begin and end with the NHL.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:19 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love this project and I love Brian Burke. This post gives the heartbreaking backstory.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:30 AM on January 16, 2013

Are they talking about letting women play hockey?

Many many women play hockey. The You Can Play project started with NHL players but has expanded to other levels of hockey and many different types of men's and women's sports as I mentioned, specifically, in the post. Colleges have been using it as a recruiting-type thing "Come play for us, we're down with You Can Play" which I think is delightful.
posted by jessamyn at 12:57 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I remember that (heartbreaking) Brian Burke post, and am so pleased to see they're doing such great followup. Thanks for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:51 PM on January 16, 2013

It was fascinating to see the reaction in Toronto the day Burke got fired. The sports people and outlets I follow were doing the usual sports post-mortem on his tenure. But the other part of Toronto personalities and media that I follow, the part that usually can't be arsed about sports, were universally calling Burke a hero and thanking him for his time in Toronto.

Small side note: Burke and his family marched in the Pride parade this year, which coincided with the opening of the NHL free agent season, and there were actually Leafs fans who were criticizing him for marching when he "should have been trying to improve the team." They were rather quickly marginalized, but it's a good reminder that there's still a ways to go, and the Burkes have done an amazing job moving things down the road.
posted by dry white toast at 7:09 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

During last year's campaigns, ESPN's magazine took political surveys from players grouped into the four major US team sports. One of them was about gay marriage, and I think over 90% of NHLers supported it. (I assume this was only US players, and also that most of them would be from northern states).

I think the only result that was more lopsided was the NHLers' response to whether they'd support their commissioner if he ran for office (0%).
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:33 AM on January 17, 2013

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