National Hockey League first professional league with all-team support for gay athletes

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has become the first professional league in the US to have each of its member teams represented by a team member in support of LGBT athletes and fans.

The Colorado Avalanche team became the latest to support the You Can Play project which aims to educate athletes and fans, and to get rid of discrimination, as team captain Gabriel Landeskog announced that he supported the initiative.

The group You Can Play has already worked with the NHL on its public service messages, and hopes to send the message that players should be judged solely on their abilities, not on their sexual orientations.

“Having full and, more importantly, ongoing participation from the NHL, is a milestone for acceptance of all athletes at every level of play and sport,” said You Can Play executive director Wade Davis.

“Every major men’s sports league has been represented in a You Can Play video and now every team in one of the world’s premier sports leagues has actively participated.  This support from professional leagues has a positive impact in locker rooms and anywhere sports are played.”

“Young athletes everywhere look up to National Hockey League players as leaders on inclusion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

“Our players, our Clubs and every member of the NHL family will strive to support important initiatives such as You Can Play in our local communities and around the world.”

The video featuring Landeskog is available to view below.