May 31, 2012 | by Steve Charing
Caps players join ‘You Can Play’ project

Washington Capitals, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of the Washington Capitals have contributed to the 'You Can Play' campaign to encourage gay youth to feel comfortable playing sports. (Photo by Keith Allison via Wikimedia)

Local LGBT residents are celebrating two Washington Capitals forwards, Mike Knuble and Matt Hendricks, who recently joined an expanding list of National Hockey League players—many of them stars—in the You Can Play project.

Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers; Brian Kitts, a former marketing official for the Colorado Avalanche; and Glen Witman, founder and president of Gforcesports.org formed a project called You Can Play. Launched earlier this year, the project uses video testimonials from a growing cadre of current players in the National Hockey League, You Can Play’s primary goal is to change the mindset that controls locker rooms today and make the environment safer for a gay pro athlete to be out—not just in hockey but all sports—pro and amateur. The theme is, “If you can play, you can play.”

Burke’s brother Brendan was a collegiate goaltender and manager of the Miami (Ohio) University hockey team who came out as gay in November 2009 and received an enormous outpouring of support. Their father, Brian, is the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tragically, Brendan was killed in a car accident two months later.

“We share a platform with a number of projects goals of erasing intolerance and promoting equality, including programs founded by other athletes,” Brian Kitts told the Blade. For more information, visit youcanplayproject.org.

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