TORONTO (AP) - The NHL and its players' union are partnering with an advocacy organization fighting homophobia in sports.
The You Can Play Project will conduct seminars at the NHL's rookie symposium and make its resources and personnel available to teams. Players will be able to seek counseling or ask questions regarding sexual orientation.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the venture underlines that "the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands." Union head Donald Fehr says the project "will foster an inclusive hockey environment from the grassroots level to the professional ranks."
Former NHL general manager Brian Burke and NHL players Tommy Wingels and Andy Miele serve on You Can Play's advisory board.
You Can Play was founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke last month in memory of Brendan Burke, his brother and the son of Brian Burke. Brendan Burke revealed he was gay to his family in 2007. He died in a car accident in 2010.