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Anonymous poll: 34 of 35 NHL players ready for an openly gay player

Anonymous poll: 34 of 35 NHL players ready for an openly gay player

The National Hockey League has not yet had a player publicly come out as gay but a new poll indicates he would be mostly welcomed.

An anonymous poll of 35 players asked if they would be accepting of an openly gay teammate. All but one of the players said they would be.

‘I’m not surprised by that,’ Calgary Flames president Brian Burke tells USA Today which conducted the poll. ‘I’m disappointed by the one player. I don’t think our players have an issue with gay players.

‘I think the first player to come out is going to find an unbelievably welcome reception. I think my generation has a bigger problem than their generation when it comes views on the gay community.’

Burke is personally invested in the issue. He son Brendon, who was killed in an auto accident in 2010, was gay. Shortly after his death, Burke and his older son Patrick launched the You Can Play project in honor of Brendan. The project is targeted at ending homophobia in sports.

‘When we shot the first set of You Can Play (promotional) videos, guys were stopping me at rinks and saying, “Why didn’t you ask me?”’Burke says. ‘Guys were mad. Guys were insulted that we didn’t ask them. That’s when I thought, ‘Wow, we are farther ahead than I thought.”’