Brendan Burke | Brian Burke | Canada | Hockey

Patrick and Brian Burke's 'You Can Play' Project: VIDEO

Picture 1
It was just over two years ago -- on February 6th, 2010 -- that the youngest son of Toronto Maple Leafs owner Brian Burke died in a weather-related car accident in Indiana. That young man, Brendan Burke, had publicly come out of the closet just three months earlier. At the time, the elder Burke told ESPN:

I had a million good reasons to love and admire Brendan. This news didn't alter any of them. I would prefer Brendan hadn't decided to discuss this issue in this very public manner. There will be a great deal of reaction, and I fear a large portion will be negative. But this takes guts, and I admire Brendan greatly, and happily march arm in arm with him on this. There are gay men in professional hockey. We would be fools to think otherwise. And it's sad that they feel the need to conceal this. I understand why they do so, however. Can a gay man advance in professional hockey? He can if he works for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Or for Miami University Hockey. God bless Rico Blasi! And I am certain these two organizations are not alone here. I wish this burden would fall on someone else's shoulders, not Brendan's. Pioneers are often misunderstood and mistrusted. But since he wishes to blaze this trail, I stand beside him with an axe! I simply could not be more proud of Brendan than I am, and I love him as much as I admire him.

After Brendan's death, the elder Burke vowed to take up the cause of ending homophobia in hockey. To that end, Brian and another of his children, Patrick -- a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers -- have initiated the "You Can Play" project.

Take a look at the first of the project's video offerings, featuring a line-up of NHL All-Stars, which premiered during the intermission of yesterday's Rangers-Bruins game, AFTER THE JUMP...

Or visit the project's website. I think Brendan would be pleased.


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. It goes without saying, but the father is so cool. Of course, so was the sadly deceased son. But I think that a supportive hockey dad could be even more influential.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 4, 2012 9:42:43 PM

  2. I admire the dad's continued support for his son

    Posted by: Justy | Mar 4, 2012 10:15:34 PM

  3. What makes this video all the more remarkable . . . hockey fans know Brian Burke as having an 'ultra-tough, gruff, take no prisoners' persona.

    The fact that he is as supportive as he is and that prominant NHL players take part in this video . . . boggles my mind in a great way.

    NHL players in the video include Rick Nash, Daniel Alfredsson, Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupal. Top notch players.

    Posted by: Parsons | Mar 5, 2012 2:57:12 AM

  4. Your blog is very informative. This is obviously one great post I keep on reading articles from here. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by: Amac Keylogger | Mar 5, 2012 4:24:24 AM


    video of Brian Burke receiving the Ally of the Year award from Toronto PFLAG.

    Brian marches in the toronto pride parade every year with PFLAG, wearing his late son's Jersey.

    this is what a a real man looks like. a real father. a real ally. a real hero.

    This man is working so hard to continue his son's work. He's an extraordinary man.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 11:43:06 AM

  6. Mr. Burke is the General Manager [GM] of The Leafs, not the owner.

    He's a good guy. Having your child die at a young age in something as senseless as a car crash is sad beyond words.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 5, 2012 1:47:24 PM

  7. Another two Roman catholics who will be denied communion.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Mar 5, 2012 6:26:55 PM

  8. Great ad and great project. Such actions as these--strong, masculine, straight men taking a stand for fairness and acceptance--will do far more to eradicate homophobia than a little priss like Lady Gaga parading around with a meat hat ever will......and will be far more encouragine to young gay male athletes.

    Not surprisingly, this story got only 5 comments (as I type this), compared to the dozens that any story involving some "diva" does, which just shows how very far we have to go.....I guess the reluctance to embrace it on the part of some is due to the fact that it punctures one of their sacred mantras--that masculine straight men will never accept gay men, regardless of whether or not the gay men meet the same standards of masculinity.....This gives the lie to that claim, underscoring that effeminacy is what drives the dislike of gays among straight men, not homosexuality per se.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 6, 2012 11:21:09 AM

  9. too bad Brian Burke's life proves you wrong, RICK.

    I've had the pleasure of marching with Brian in the Toronto Pride Parade for the last few years. He, unlike you, doesn't promote any forms of anti-gay bigotry. He's not saying "gays who play hockey are great, but i hate those lady gaga gays!"

    it's actually the opposite of what rick talks about - gay men like rick pretend not to be "femme" (which they are) because they're terrified that they won't be accepted by straight men. that's why RICK is still Closeted. because he's terrified of what Straight Men think. Out gay people don't have that cowardly fear, and one of the most inspiring things about Brian Burke is that he does not harbor ANY prejudices at all toward LGBT people, even those that fall on differing ends of the "masc and femme" spectrum.

    straight people don't hate "femme gays" - insecure homosexuals whose fathers hated them are the ones who hate "femme gays", because "femme gays" remind them of everything their fathers hated.

    never forget that RICK is not Out. never forget that RICK is too cowardly to every show himself. never forget that RICK leads a cowardly life wherein he changes no hearts or mind about LGBT people, because he's too busy pretending to be straight while throwing insults at "femme" gays.

    my mum is he president of PFLAG in Toronto. She organized this event where Brian was presented with PFLAG's Ally of the Year.

    real mean, and real allies, don't throw pathetic bigotry at other gay men because they're considered "femme". that's only something that pathetic cowards to try to distract people away from noticing that they have no testicles to speak of.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 6, 2012 11:33:56 AM

  10. The message is "If you can play, you can play"--i.e. if you measure up as a hockey player--which means demonstrating the same toughness as us and, yes, a willingness to throw a punch if necessary (as it will be over the course of an NHL career)--then you can be one of us, regardless of sexual orientation. On the other hand, if you don't demonstrate that kind of toughness, obviously you cannot be one of us.

    Crystal clear.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 6, 2012 12:00:06 PM

  11. rick, post the URL to your own page or youtube video where you show us all the Manly Masculine Example you claim to be.

    truly. come on, wimp - prove it :D
    *RICK runs away back into the closet his father hoped he'd die in*

    Brian Burke stands in solidarity with all LGBT people. Not just the ones that insecure bigots deem to be "masculine".

    something rick never learned. because rick's dad spent each day hoping his son would off himself.

    come on, wimp - show us who you really are. :D

    another vid of Mr. Burke:

    you can clearly read, Rickybaby, time to prove what a real man you are. hehehe. you won't, of course. you don't have the balls.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 6, 2012 12:10:32 PM

  12. I think its awesome that they do such inspiring actions in order to help us people.

    Posted by: The2GirlsTeachSex | May 18, 2012 7:50:30 AM

Post a comment


« «Piers Morgan Says Kirk Cameron Was 'Brave' For Displaying Homophobia On TV« «