I sent my 11 year old off to play hockey tonight with my hubby and sat down to take my mind off my frustration with his youth baseball program, when I saw this:

The National Hockey League and the NHL players assocation has announced a partnership with the You Can Play Project.

You Can Play, launched in Boston by Patrick Burke, is an advocacy group that fights homophobia in sports...

Speaking on the partnership Burke stated, "The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support.  We will work with the League and the NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels.


More below the orange figure eights...

I spent the day extremely frustrated with our local baseball association and the board, which has several members who are only looking out for their kid.  After literally crying over the way that adults can completely disregard the feelings of 11 and 12 year old boys who just want to play baseball with their friends, I talked to several parents about how completely different our experience had been with hockey.  Our association, connected with USA hockey, while it has its share of competitive parents, at least plays fair and is conscious of ensuring that all kids, even those just learning how to skate at the age of 10 (well beyond the usual starting age of 3-4 around here), are treated as if they matter.  

I got home today and saw the above article, reaffirming my support of my little guy's involvement in a sport that was new to my husband and me 6 years ago when he first took the ice in kindergarten, having no clue how to skate.  He had the most patient coaches who would skate him on and off the ice and pick him up when he fell (which was quite often!!), always encouraging.  No matter how weak a player, they were always welcome to play-come one, come all.  

Clearly, based on today's announcement, this is a message that is being sent from the top down.  I am proud that my son embraces a sport that embraces everyone.  If I am choosing to buy him NHL or NFL or MLB merchandise, I will enthusiastically choose NHL.  I want to support an organization that supports everyone.  While no sport is perfect, and I know that there are bigots everywhere, this is a huge step in the right direction.  And hopefully, it will changes the hearts and minds of more conservative hockey fans.  One step at a time!    

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