Top-ranked DU hockey team joins battle against sports culture homophobia

If you’re an American high school hockey star, you want to play for the University of Denver. The Pioneers have notched the second-most NCAA championships of any college team and routinely send players to the NHL. If you’re a gay American high school hockey star, there’s now extra incentive to play for the Pioneers.

The team this week released a video in the series being made for the You Can Play Project, an effort started by NHL players to battle anti-gay sports culture, or what the founders of the organization refer to as “locker room homophobia.”

“I don’t want to be that guy, the guy who makes you feel bad about who you are,” says one of the Pioneer players in the video.

“And, yeah, it’s about winning, because if you can help us win, you can play,” says another.

The DU men’s basketball team made a similar video earlier this year.

Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, founded the organization after his brother Brendan, manager of the Miami University Red Hawks, came out. The project launched in March and has attracted increasing participation from professional and college athletes.

“The casual homophobia in sports has to change, so all athletes know that what counts is whether you can play the game,” Burke said at the time.

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