More progress is being made in addressing and countering homophobia in sports.
Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has been named the organization's LGBTQ-inclusion ambassador.
The announcement, made on February 2, was made as part of a partnership between the National Hockey League and the nonprofit You Can Play Project, which aims to address homophobia in sports and support LGBT athletes.
The project has recruited one player from each NHL team who will volunteer to be an ambassador.
Each ambassador will be a leader for LGBT-inclusion in the locker room, on the ice, and in the community for diversity, equality, and inclusion. Some ambassadors will be featured in local public-service announcements.
Other NHL players for Canadian teams include Andrew Shaw of the Montreal Canadiens (who had previously been suspended and apologized for using a gay slur while playing with the Chicago Blackhawks), James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matt Stajan of the Calgary Flames, Matt Hendricks of the Edmonton Oilers, Dion Phaneuf of the Ottawa Senators, and Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets.
Furthermore, February has been declared Hockey is for Everyone month. Select clubs will announce one home game to be special You Can Play evenings, which will celebrate local LGBT community members with ceremonial puck drops, anthem singers, hometown-hero features, and Pride rainbow stick tape to be used during warmups.
Patrick Burke and former Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke launched You Can Play in 2012 in memory of their openly gay and LGBT rights-activist brother and son Brendan, who died in a car accident.
So far, unlike other sports leagues, no NHL player has come out as gay yet.
On a separate note, Sedin recently passed a milestone when he scored the 1,000th point of his NHL career during a January 20 game against the Florida Panthers.