Brendan McFatridge is only 18 years old and has a bright future in hockey. | Instagram

Brendan McFatridge is a changemaker.

The young gay hockey player was recently recognized for his work combating bullying. The award came from the Children First Canada organization.

“I knew I was gay from a very young age,” he told Global News after learning of the award. “It just came to the point where I was struggling and I was at a mental low state and coming out was the only option where I could stand up for myself and tell people to stop.

McFatridge said that when he did come out to his team, there was widespread acceptance.

“It was really good for the most part,” he said. “For the most part everyone respected it and stopped saying slurs in the dressing room and stuff like that.”

This reflects the experience of most LGBTQ athletes coming out to their teammates in high school and college. While casual homophobia in the locker room makes them think they will be rejected, Outsports’ study with the University of Winchester in 2021 shows that acceptance of gay teammates is widespread.

“So grateful to have been recognized as one of 10 winners of the national Future is Now Awards,” he wrote on Instagram. “This was a life changing experience and I couldn’t be happier to have been a part of it.”

McFatridge was the 189th selection in the 2021 Draft for the Western Hockey League.

The Fort Saskatchewan Rangers are a minor league hockey team. At 18 years old, McFatridge is definitely on the hockey radar.

You can follow Brendan McFatridge on Instagram.