The National Hockey League
Players’ Association and the National Hockey League today announced an
historic partnership with the You Can Play Project that formalizes and
advances their long-standing commitment to make the NHL the most inclusive
professional sports league in the world.

      “The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to
LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support,”
said Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, the founder of the You Can
Play Project, an advocacy organization that fights homophobia in sports.
“We will work with League and NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure
that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels.”

      Said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: “Our motto is 'Hockey Is For
Everyone,' and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in
a clear and unequivocal way. While we believe that our actions in the past
have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm
through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the
official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker
rooms and in the stands.”

      “NHL players have supported the You Can Play Project since its
inception, which we are pleased to formalize and expand upon with today’s
announcement,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “The players
believe our partnership with the NHL and You Can Play will foster an
inclusive hockey environment from the grassroots level to the professional
ranks.”

      The official partnership with You Can Play includes a significant
commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans
plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.

      “As NHL players, we all strive to contribute towards helping our
teams achieve success on the ice. Any player who can help in those efforts
should be welcomed as a teammate,” said Ron Hainsey, Winnipeg Jets
defenseman and NHLPA Executive Board member. “This partnership solidifies
the message that the hockey community believes in fairness and equality for
everyone.”

      You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL’s rookie symposium to
educate young prospects on LGBT issues. In addition, You Can Play will make
its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired.

      The NHLPA and NHL also will work with You Can Play to integrate the
project into their Behavioral Health Program, enabling players to
confidentially seek counseling or simply ask questions regarding matters of
sexual orientation.


The You Can Play Project, founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick
Burke, celebrated its one year anniversary on March 4, 2013. From its
inception, it has had tremendous support from the hockey community and
beyond. NHL players Tommy Wingels and Andy Miele, and former NHL General
Manager Brian Burke all serve on You Can Play’s Advisory Board. Over 100
professional hockey players have  voiced their support for gay teammates
and have been joined by athletes from numerous sports representing
approximately 20 NCAA organizations.