I have never been a fan of Brian Burke's work as a General Manager and his preferred style of hockey. However, I have truly admired his support of gay athletes and his handling of his son's coming out and tragic death was commendable and moving. The Miami RedHawks (Brendan Burke was Team Manager), made it to the Frozen Four NCAA Tournament in April 2010, just a couple months after Brendan's death. I was fortunate to attend that tournament and sit in a section with the RedHawks faithful for a couple games. The outpouring of love, support, and grief for Brendan Burke was really touching and is something his family should really be proud of.
It's great to see that Burke and his son Patrick are keeping Brendan's memory alive and continuing their work to make the sporting world more accepting of gay athletes.
Today, Patrick's project, the "You Can Play" project launches with a commercial in the nationally broadcast Bruins-Rangers game on NBC. The concept of "You Can Play" is simple: if you can play, nothing else matters. The goal is to change sporting culture, to make all leagues more accepting, and to rid sports of homophobia.
"You Can Play" launches with the support of many of the NHL's biggest stars lending their support. I'm pleased to see Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has lent his support to the project and will appear in the public service message. For the message to get across, it needs the support of leaders and stars and Alfredsson and his peers have ensured that.
Check out the website and these articles about the project: