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Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – The First Openly Gay Junior Hockey Player

What was your first thought when you read the title of this week writing?  Was it shock?  Perhaps it was simply wanting to read the name of the player?  Or maybe you think it is about time someone was to “come out”?  For some maybe it was the jaw drop?

A lot is being made about the American football player Michael Sam who made the statement that he was gay recently.  I say, who cares! To be sure the gay athlete is a controversial issue in today society.

Everyone has opinion on if it will be or should be accepted.  But in the end, who are we to judge anyone?  Who are we to say that a person should even have to announce their sexual preference?  Is it not true that what is done in your own home is your own business?

On the other hand, should gay athlete even make such announcement?  Again, who cares!

The fact that now athletes feel like they have to make such an announcement is rather funny.  Could most people not see who was gay tennis players in the past?  They did not hide this, but also did not feel as though they had to make announcements to clarify either.

Being gay is not something new to the world.  Perhaps the “gay rights” movement for equality under the law for marriage is a newer movement, but “gay rights” and gay couples having long term relationships is not new.  Why should the thought of gay athlete be new then?

To think that there have not been gay player in the game of hockey for decades is to think the moon made of Swiss cheese!

The NHL more than any other league and hockey more than any other sport has come out to say that “Everyone Can Play”.  Garry Bettman said on behalf of the NHL;

“Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way. While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”

The question is not “who” is or will be the first openly gay hockey player.  The question is, how will, is, or was that player accepted?  How will homophobic teenage boys deal with it if it happen in junior hockey before it happen in the NHL?

Hockey is the mans game.  But what is the man who plays the game?  He is the finely tuned and highly trained athlete.  He is the product of years of dedication to training.

Consider that some study say that 1 in 10 people are gay.  It would make sense to believe that there is not one gay hockey player on the ice, but many.

What will happen when the player who made you the pass for the championship goal, the player you room with on the road, “come out” a year or two after those instance?  How will you look at him?  Will you now not respect him?  Will those memory of good time shared become less good?  Or, will you remember him as the brother you thought he was and say “who cares”?

With the recent announcement of Michael Sam, and other athlete who have “come out”, it is only the matter of time before it is one of your team mate who make the announcement.  How you react to it will actually determine how you are seen as a person, not the player who make the announcement.

Coach

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