NHL Appoints Players as LGBT-Inclusive Ambassadors

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Now LGBT hockey players can get even more support from their teammates.

National Hockey League Clubs are naming one player from each team as a You Can Play ambassador. They are designated as a means of support and inclusion of diversity within both the locker room and the community. 

"Our Clubs, our players and our fans are committed to welcoming everyone to hockey," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a press release. "While the NHL family strives for diversity and inclusiveness all year long, February is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ month, which will highlight, on a daily basis, the many ways our sport brings greater attention, heightened awareness and broader opportunities."

The Hockey is for Everyone month was created by the NHL and the National Hockey League Player’s Association as part of a “longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in hockey."

In addition to LGBT inclusion, the month will focus awareness of gender equality, people with disabilities, ethnicity equality and socio-economic status.

Related: National Women’s Hockey League Adopts Trans Policy

The campaign is also part of the You Can Play Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to combat homophobia within sports communities.

In addition, some NHL Clubs will feature a home game as a You Can Play night which will celebrate “members of the local LGBTQ community with ceremonial puck drops, anthem singers, features on hometown heroes, and ‘Pride Tape’ will be used during pregame warm up.”

"Players are proud to partner with You Can Play and the NHL on the Hockey is for Everyone campaign this month," said NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider. "The initiatives and conversations taking place in February will continue to promote inclusion and diversity in our game and help ensure that hockey truly is for everyone."

Shawn Thornton is the designated ambassador for the Florida Panthers. Also worth noting is Andrew Shaw from the Montreal Canadiens, who was suspended last year from the Chicago Blackhawks for using a gay slur during a game.

 

Here is the full list of ambassadors: 

  • Willie O'Ree (NHL Director)
  • Ryan Kesler (ANA)
  • Lars Ekman-Larsson (ARI)
  • Brad Marchand (BOS)
  • Anders Nilsson (BUF)
  • Eddie Lack (CAR)
  • Matt Stajan (CGY)
  • Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI)
  • Gabe Landeskog (COL)
  • Scott Hartnell (CBJ)
  • Curtis McKenzie (DAL)
  • Frans Nielsen (DET
  • Matt Hendricks (EDM)
  • Shawn Thornton (FLA)
  • Dustin Brown (LAK)
  • Charlie Coyle (MIN)
  • Andrew Shaw (MTL)
  • Colin Wilson (NSH)
  • Andy Greene (NJD)
  • Casey Cizikas (NYI)
  • Mats Zuccarello (NYR)
  • Dion Phaneuf (OTT)
  • Claude Giroux (PHI)
  • Chris Kunitz (PIT)
  • Chris Tierney (SJS)
  • David Perron (STL)
  • Brian Boyle (TBL)
  • James Van Riemsdyk (TOR)
  • Henrik Sedin (VAN)
  • Braden Holtby (WSH)
  • Jacob Trouba (WPG)

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