Following the 2010 car accident death of his gay son, Toronto Maple Leafs owner Brian Burke decided to dedicate his life off the ice to fighting homophobia. So too did his other son, Patrick (both pictured).
Though it's only been about a year since their You Can Play campaign began rallying for LGBT inclusion in the National Hockey League, Patrick says he's already seen a tremendous amount of progress and even predicts that professional hockey will soon see an openly gay player.
"Within the next two years, I predict we’ll have an openly gay National Hockey League player," Burke told Adam Proteau at The Hockey News. "That is my personal belief and numerous people, including people within the charity, disagree with me completely. It’s my opinion only, but I think I’m right."
More from that interview:
I think our athletes have made it clear they support their teammates. I think management has made it clear through their support of You Can Play. I think fans have made it clear. I think the commissioner has made it clear. I think the league office has made it clear. Everyone knows now the NHL is on board. I believe players will take a little while and make sure we’re not going anywhere, that YCP and the Burke family are here to stay, and within the next couple years they’ll know that this is a league in which they can come out and still play.
A number of professional players have joined Patrick and Brian Burke's movement, and though he always thought the league would be supportive, Patrick says he's blown away by the level of commitment he's seen: "To say I expected this level of support and this amount of players to go above and beyond and reach out to us, no, I never could’ve predicted this.”