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Hockey is for Everyone

Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 11:30 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Hockey is for Everyone

If you can play, you can play.

Michael Smith
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That is the message of the You Can Play project, whose mission is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.”

On Thursday, April 11, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association announced a historic partnership with You Can Play, unequivocally reaffirming the commitment of the league and its players to the idea that hockey is for everyone.

The collaboration marks the first of its kind between the just-over-a-year-old social activist group and a professional sports league and its players.

Hurricanes forward Kevin Westgarth tweeted last week in support of the partnership:

“You have to have the conversation to make sure that things are correct and going in the right direction,” Westgarth said. “I think it shows that we’re willing to be outspoken about it now, and that’s very important. There’s no question that’s the direction our league and everywhere in athletics should be going.”

Founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, You Can Play has had vocal and expansive support throughout hockey since its inception on March 9, 2012.

“To formalize it across the NHL and NHLPA is a great thing, and hopefully that is a beacon moving forward,” Westgarth said.

According to the league, the partnership between the NHL, NHLPA and You Can Play includes a broad pledge to education and training. You Can Play will conduct educational seminars at the league’s rookie symposium and will make its resources available for teams and players. The partnership also includes production and broadcast support of public service announcements.

At its core, the You Can Play project centers around respect – respect both in and out of the locker room – and the idea of judging athletes based on character and work ethic. Sport unites people of all backgrounds, races and culture together; exclusivity is not inherent, and inclusivity should be celebrated.

“It’s unfortunate it can’t just be right without saying anything,” Westgarth said. “But I think it’s very important now that we do it, and I think it’s a great step for us.”



SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81