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NHL Announces LGBTQ Ambassadors From Each Team. One May Surprise You.

Last year Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw was suspended one game for using a gay slur.  Now, he's part of the 'You Can Play' / National Hockey League LGBTQ Ambassadors program. , an openly gay reporter Why Andrew Shaw Is A Good Choice To Be An LGBTQ Ambassador For NHL."

 

One of the last times I spoke with former Blackhawk Andrew Shaw, it was in April in the lobby of a hangar near O'Hare International Airport.

Shaw had just issued an emotional apology in front of several cameras and tape recorders for uttering an anti-gay slur at an official during a tantrum from the penalty box late in Game 4 of the Hawks' playoff series against the Blues.

After that apology, Shaw wanted to speak one on one before the Hawks boarded their charter for the next game in St. Louis. Just a month earlier, I had revealed for the first time in my professional life that I'm a gay man in a column for the Tribune, and now someone I interacted with daily had been caught using the one word LGBTQ people fear the most - the word that is at the center of countless nightmares and untold acts of bullying.

Both of us tried not to cry during that conversation. We didn't quite make it.

But we left it on very good terms. Shaw, whom the Hawks traded to the Canadiens in the offseason, explained that he didn't realize what he said had such an impact and said he wasn't the kind of guy who would do anything to demean LGBTQ people.

I explained the word's power; however, I also told him that he might not see it in the moment, but this incident could do more good than harm in the long run. Through him, a lot of people could learn about how much words can wound LGBTQ people. - Chicago Tribune

 

From last April to today, the National Hockey League has increased its partnership with You Can Play (YCP).  And apparently so hasn't  Andrew Shaw.  For more on Hine's telling of why Shaw is a good pic, finish the article over at The Chicago Tribune.

As mentioned YCP and the NHL are stepping up their partnership for the month of February.

 

In support of their longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in hockey, the National Hockey League, the League's Member Clubs and the NHLPA will spotlight a variety of community-related initiatives for Hockey Is For Everyone throughout the month of February. 

Hockey Is For Everyone month is conducted in partnership with the You Can Play Project, a nonprofit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports. For the first time, each of the 30 NHL clubs have designated one player to be a You Can Play ambassador, which means being a leader in the locker room and in the community on diversity, equality, and inclusion. These players have agreed to lead the way in their markets and fight homophobia in sports; some will be featured in local public service announcements. 

Select clubs will designate one home game as a You Can Play night, celebrating members of the local LGBTQ community with ceremonial puck drops, anthem singers, features on hometown heroes, and "Pride Tape" that will be used during warmups. - NHL.com

 

Shaw volunteered to he the YCP / LGBTQ Ambassador for his current team, the Montreal Canadiens.

"People make mistakes, and it's good people learn from those mistakes and try to change who they are and how they see things," Shaw said. "If they really got to know me, they'd see I'm a great guy, a good friend, a good teammate. Some of my actions, I might look like I could say a lot of things like a jerk, but deep down if you knew me on a personal level, you'd notice I just like to try to make people happy." - Chicago Tribune

 

Bravo to all parties involved. Below you will find the full list of ambassadors and some of their pics.  Their names are links if you desire to know more about the players.

Do you think programs like these help? 

Do you think they may help both current players as well as future sports players?

Have you been to a Pride night game before?  How was it?

 

Anaheim Ducks -- Ryan Kesler

 

Arizona Coyotes -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Boston Bruins -- Brad Marchand

Buffalo Sabres -- Anders Nilsson

 

Carolina Hurricanes -- Eddie Lack

Calgary Flames -- Matt Stajan

Chicago Blackhawks -- Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Colorado Avalanche -- Gabriel Landeskog

Columbus Blue Jackets -- Scott Hartnell

Dallas Stars -- Curtis McKenzie

Detroit Red Wings -- Frans Nielsen

Edmonton Oilers -- Matt Hendricks

Florida Panthers -- Shawn Thornton

Los Angeles Kings -- Dustin Brown

Minnesota Wild -- Charlie Coyle

Montreal Canadiens -- Andrew Shaw

 

Nashville Predators -- Colin Wilson

New Jersey Devils -- Andy Greene

New York Islanders -- Casey Cizikas

New York Rangers -- Mats Zuccarello

Ottawa Senators -- Dion Phaneuf

Philadelphia Flyers -- Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh Penguins -- Chris Kunitz

San Jose Sharks -- Chris Tierney

St. Louis Blues -- David Perron

Tampa Bay Lightning -- Brian Boyle

Toronto Maple Leafs -- James van Riemsdyk

Vancouver Canucks -- Henrik Sedin

Washington Capitals -- Braden Holtby

Winnipeg Jets -- Jacob Trouba