Peoria Rivermen of the AHL Tell Gay Athletes: You Can Play

Peoria Rivermen support You Can Play - Brad White/Getty Images

One of the best You Can Play videos comes from this Illinois pro hockey team

The Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League have released one of the best You Can Play videos I've seen yet. In case you didn't know, the AHL is a 30-team pro hockey league that serves as a developmental circuit for the NHL.

There are a few things I like about this one. First, they specifically say "gay," "sexual orientation," and "homophobic." Most YCP videos do this, but it's always important to point out. Second, I love the tone of the piece. The players are sharing their thoughts beyond the YCP mantra. It's an extended invitation where they elaborate on the YCP mission. The whole piece has a really positive tone to it, from the music to the smiles on some of the guys' faces.

Patrick Burke sent over this quote from player Mike McKenna, a goalie for the Rivermen:

""The You Can Play Project is something I have fully supported since its inception. Hockey is generally known as a ‘macho' sport, but I think it is very important for people to understand that the bulk of our players are also compassionate people that believe in the virtues of equality and respect. This video is a testament to that common belief shared in our locker room. When I asked my teammates if they would be willing to do a video for You Can Play, there was an overwhelmingly positive response.

I believe the You Can Play has helped many people re-evaluate how they view the LGBT community. By showing that big, tough, manly athletes - a group with a history of being vocally homophobic - are actively taking a stand against slurs and degrading language, it provides a very strong message: that players should be judged by their performance rather than who they are attracted to.

I have full confidence that if one of our players came out as gay or bisexual, there would be nothing but support within the locker room. We practice, train, play, and bleed together as a family: something a person's sexual orientation has no effect on."


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