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NHL’s Aaron Ekblad appears in Nike ad for LGBT BeTrue clothing line

Florida Panthers defenseman appears with Brittney Griner; skateboarders Lacey Baker, Brian Anderson.

2016 Honda NHL All-Star - Portraits
Aaron Ekblad
Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images

A new ad for Nike’s BeTrue line of clothing that promotes LGBT pride features four pro athletes with varied sexual orientations, including defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers, the NHL’s rookie of the year two years ago.

Ekblad appears in the ad with Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who is a lesbian; and two skateboarding stars: Brian Anderson, who is gay and Lacey Baker, who identifies as queer.

Based on what he says in the ad and in the NHL’s release, I assume Ekblad identifies as straight. He is also the only one of the four who does not wear a white BeTrue T-shirt; he is in a black shirt that says “Equality” in rainbow lettering.

"Keep on trying to break those barriers, and become a group of people and a movement that's changing the world,” Ekblad says in the ad. Ekblad also tweeted out his support:

Ekblad is not the only NHL player supporting LGBT pride month. For the second year in a row, Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby marched in the DC pride parade. Let’s hope these guys have an impact since the NHL is the only one of the Big 4 men’s pro sports leagues in the U.S. to never have had an openly gay player, active or retired.