Brendan Burke Hub

Toronto Maple Leafs Manager Brian Burke Helps Launch Website Against Anti-Gay Bullying

Toronto Maple Leafs manager Brian Burke, whose gay son Brendan died in a car accident in February, is making good on his promise to be a gay rights advocate in memory of Brendan. Burke participated in the launch of a website today aimed at curbing anti-gay bullying, the Toronto Sun reports:

Burke "Leafs general manager Brian Burke asked media to shut off their cameras before he broke down during his speech on gay rights and anti-bullying in front of hundreds of parents, educators and students. Burke was asked Monday morning to help launch a new Website,, which is the first national resource dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth at the Sutton Place Hotel. ... 'We have to get to a point where you can go to school free of fear,' Burke said. 'Fear is a horrible emotion to feel and smaller kids get picked on and gay kids get picked on. It's got to stop.' The website was created to protect the human rights of LGBTQ Canadians when bullying is still rampant in schools."

A class act.

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RoadUSA Hockey creates internship in honor of Brendan Burke: "The organization announced Wednesday it has established the Brendan Burke internship, which will be given each year to a recent college graduate who is interested in pursuing a job in hockey operations. Brendan Burke worked with the Miami University men's hockey team and was killed in a car crash on Feb. 5. He is the son of Brian Burke, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM and the boss of the U.S. Olympic team."

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Team USA Hockey Coach Brian Burke to be Gay Rights Advocate in Honor of His Late Son Brendan

The U.S. Olympic hockey team and its general manager Brian Burke, who lost his gay son Brendan Burke in a car accident just weeks ago, has made it to the semifinals. Sports Illustrated profiles Burke, who talks about his son's death and the commitments he has made to carry on his legacy:

Burke A few days after Brendan came out to his father, in late December 2007, Brian told him, "You know the best part? I don't have to take anything back." Burke says he never told his children there was anything wrong with homosexuality. But when he really rummages through his memory, he concedes there are smudges on his otherwise clean conscience. When he played in the American Hockey League in the late 1970s—he was a stay-at-home defenseman whose skills fast-tracked him to Harvard Law School—he spoke in the lingua franca of the locker room. "Yeah, I used those slurs," he says. "I'm embarrassed by it. It was an accepted part of the [hockey] culture, and it still is. But not on my teams. It's a big part of trash talking, and that's got to change."

After Brendan publicly revealed his sexual preference, Brian was flooded with requests to do advocacy work on behalf of gays. He told the groups that while he supported his son, he had other causes: land conservation, blood donation and children's literacy. He didn't want to dilute that work. This, too, changed on that Friday in February. Brendan's causes are Brian's now. He will do a public-service announcement aimed at eliminating the bullying of gay children. And he plans to march in the Toronto Pride Parade. "I'd promised him I would march with him," says Burke, who briefly left the Olympics last Friday to attend a memorial service for Brendan at Miami of Ohio. "He won't be there, but I will."

Good luck to Mr. Burke and to Team USA!

Brian Burke Back on Job as U.S. Olympic Hockey Team GM Following Death of Son

Less than a week after burying his gay son Brendan, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Brian Burke was working again on Friday night, as general manager of the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Burke  Said Burke: "My family needs me to be strong right now and my teams need me to be strong -- Toronto and this team,". So I think part of leadership is dealing with personal adversity or personal difficulty. So no, there was never a thought of not coming or doing anything different. The one change I made was that I didn't feel like marching in the Opening Ceremonies (Friday night). But my son would have wanted me to be here."

Burke discussed his son's death on Sunday following a news conference: "I cry less every day. It's been … it's been tough.  I just think about him. He would have wanted me to do this. ... He was a courageous kid -- a very gregarious kid, a very compassionate kid. He was very bright and cared a lot about people. The saddest part about it was that his future was so bright. The sky was the limit for this kid...We're putting one foot in front of the other, that's what we're doing. "I was asked to do a job here and I'm going to do it. The fact that I've had a tragic event in my life shouldn't change that. USA Hockey asked me to do a job and I'm going to do it."

Brendan Burke's Life Marked for Deletion on Wikipedia


Do you think the late Brendan Burke's life story, which has helped break barriers of homophobia in professional hockey, should stay on Wikipedia?

Burke, who made international headlines with his professional hockey coach father Brian, after coming out publicly, died on Friday in a weather-related automobile accident in Indiana.

Some Wikipedian homophobes have marked his page for deletion as "Not Notable". Wikipedians, have at it.

Watch: Brian and Brendan Burke on Gays in Hockey, Coming Out


On Wednesday, I posted about an ESPN story onToronto Maple Leafs and U.S. Olympic Team General Manager Brian Burke, and his son Brendan's coming out. Brendan is on the staff of Miami University's #1 hockey team.

The story has received much attention in the hockey world. Brendan and Brian did an interview with The Sports Network (TSN) in Canada, talking about the decision to go public with their story.

Watch it (as well as some commentary on reactions to the story), AFTER THE JUMP...

Brianburke Said Brian of Brendan in the article: "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."

Brendan also gave an interview to Canada's Globe and Mail. "Like I've said before, my experience [with homophobia in the locker room] was basically with homophobic slurs and that kind of stuff. I think as soon as the stereotype of a gay person was replaced by someone they knew, or were friends with, it changed. Once they realized there might be a gay person next to them or a gay person in the locker room, the homophobia decreased greatly."

Watch the TSN interview and viewer reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Brian and Brendan Burke on Gays in Hockey, Coming Out" »


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