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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.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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