By Michael Blinn
Gabriel Landeskog is no stranger to making history in the NHL: When he was named captain of the Colorado Avalanche last season, the Swede became the youngest in league history to hold the title.
Today, he’s helped to make even more history, and possibly on a grander, more transcendent scale, with his :52 ad, according to the You Can Play Project:
It’s more than a cool captain and some cooler kids representing a new era of equality in sports. It’s also the day that every team in the National Hockey League has now been represented by a player who has spoken on behalf of LGBT athletes, team staff, coaches and fans. Think about that. Every team in the NHL.
It might not be much of a surprise that all 30 teams have given their support to the cause, as longtime scout and current Director of Player Safety for the NHL Patrick Burke (son of Calgary Flames president and Team USA GM Brian Burke) started the organization, which is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.” YCP, which goes by the simple credo of “If you can play, you can play,” was created to honor Burke’s younger brother, Brendan, who was killed in a car crash shortly after he made headlines by coming out while a student manager for the Miami (OH) RedHawks hockey team.
EXTRA MUSTARD: Q&A with You Can Play’s director