You don't have to sit alone if you're gay and like hockey. The number of gay hockey players taking to the ice is very strong as well as inspirational.
He used to live afraid of saying anything about his true self, which, Andrew Sobotka will tell you, is not a fun way to live. Growing up as a hockey player in conservative Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Sobotka felt the sting of homophobia almost every day he came to the rink as a promising high school player.
One day, it finally became too much.
"I basically gave up playing hockey then because of it," said Sobotka, who works in information technology in Chicago. "I went through some tough times. But things are changing."
To quote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "The only thing that is constant is change." Fifteen to 20 years ago, Sobotka would have had no organized team to play for as an out-of-the-closet homosexual. Today, he plays defense for the Downtown Red Liners of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association, one of five gay hockey teams in the city.
Similar teams are sprouting up in most every major North American city. Two cities—Toronto and Madison, Wisconsin, have so many gay teams that they have formed their own league. Six teams are in competition in New York. Lesbian hockey players are increasingly coming out.
One of the surprising aspects of gay hockey leagues: Not everyone who plays in them is gay.
"A third of the players who play in gay hockey are straight men. We're all-inclusive," Sobotka said. "Most everyone knows someone who is gay or is related to someone who is gay. A lot of those people want to show their support, so they get involved. And, yeah, it's good hockey." – bleacherreport.com
One question I would like to raise after reading this and seeing what a supportive community gay hockey players have is … do we need a pro hockey player to come out? I've seen many readers wince when we post coming out stories saying big deal and who cares, but it is true that some people still need role models and barriers still need to be broken down. I feel it would be beneficial for a gay pro hockey player to be out, but you have to admit, there are some pretty good role models mentioned in Dater's article as well as the videos below.
I love hockey and love the players. I never played hockey myself, but always wanted to "play" with a player, just a little fantasy of mine. You have to admit, the men that strap on the skates and jocks and take to the ice are mighty fine.
What is great is that the men covered by Dater can be who they are, hockey players and gay. As the pic says, boys who like boys who like hockey. Below are a couple of videos covering just that, playing the sport they love, being gay, and getting to the point where both could be mentioned in the same sentence.
And remember, there's nothing wrong with high sticking.
Team G-Force Documentary Aspen Colorado (2008)
WHY IT IS NO LONGER OKAY TO SAY "FAG" AND "THAT'S SO GAY" (PART 1 of 2) (2011)