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17. March 2012 at 2:41 #7202ConfGenKeymaster
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Anyone who spends any time around the Scott Hartnell Jersey game understands there’s a powerful amount of good work that gets done. Each team has its own foundation helping charities in their communities to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars annually. The NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams fund does a remarkable job of helping kids who couldn’t otherwise afford to play hockey get a chance to enjoy the game. But every once in a while you run across something that gives you a special sense of pride at being connected to the game and its people. One of those moments came watching the new public service advertisements promoting the You Can Play initiative that hopes to break down the homophobia that exists in athletics.You Can Play is the brainchild Michael Leighton Jersey of Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke — son of Toronto Maple Leafs president and GM Brian Burke and brother of Brendan Burke, who championed the cause of the gay community in athletics prior to his death in a car accident in early 2010. Brendan Burke told his family that he was gay in 2007 and then came out publicly to the University of Miami Ohio hockey team, for whom he worked as a manager in 2009.The public service spots, produced by HBO, features top NHL players delivering a simple message: If you have the skills and drive and determination, you can play the game regardless of who you are or what your orientation might be.Patrick Shane Doan Jersey Burke said the idea came to him after sitting in on countless scouting meetings over the years. Invariably when discussing a player someone will ask the simple question: “Can he play?”“That’s all that matters, can he play,” Burke told ESPN.com.In memorializing his brother, Patrick thought that simple query was apropos given the path his brother had forged in trying to break down the barriers that often confront the gay community vis-a-vis team sports.“That line just kind of stuck with me,” he said.Working with a couple of investors, including Glen Witman and Brian Kitts, who are members of the high-profile GForce Sports organization in Denver, Burke established the You Can Play initiative as a tool for helping to break down homophobia across the athletic landscape. Then he approached the NHL’s 30 GMs about getting some players to help out.He admitted more than a little nervousness about the response, but all 30 teams committed to supporting the project and then the players Sidney Crosby Authentic Jersey contacted were universally supportive.In all, 35 NHLers have committed to be involved with You Can Play.“I had a real faith that our guys would step up and they did,” said Burke, who appeared in the first spot with his father talking about Brendan and his efforts to promote understanding and acceptance.
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