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Brian Burke Hub



04/19/2007


Watch: CBS Sports Honors the Late Brendan Burke

Burke

In a touching CBS Sports segment, Miami University hockey players and coaches remember Brendan Burke, who made international news with his coming out story, and died a year ago in an apparently weather-related car accident in Indiana.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: CBS Sports Honors the Late Brendan Burke" »


GQ Posts Great Piece on the NHL and the Courageous Burke Family

Whatever you read today, make sure it includes this great piece about Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, his son Brendan who died earlier this year in a car accident, and Brendan's brother Patrick, all of whom behaved heroically as Brendan came out and later lost his life, far too early.

Writes Mary Rogan in GQ: Brianburke

In the past thirty years, Burke has blistered through the ranks of NHL management, including a stint as discipline czar for commissioner Gary Bettman. "When he was working for me," Bettman recalls, "there was a picture of him in his office from when he played for the Maine Mariners, with blood all over his face and uniform. I knew this was a good, smart, tough guy with no b.s. about him."

But now the combative G.M. had taken the biggest hit of his life. Lying on the side of the road was his 21-year-old son, who had stunned the hockey world three months earlier when he'd come out as the first openly gay man closely connected to the NHL. Listening to the sheriff's voice down the line, Burke could see Brendan in the snow that was still falling, surrounded by strangers who didn't know a thing about him. He must be so cold, Burke thought, and he could see the furrow in his brow that Brendan always got when he was worried. He could see the paramedics give up and step away, and already ticking in the background were those ten seconds of knee-buckling fear.

****

As he tells this terrible story, Burke is sitting in the expansive backyard of his Toronto home, which overlooks one of the city's most beautiful ravines, maneuvering his cell phone on the patio table to show which way Brendan's car was facing when it crossed the center line. His voice is a low moan as he chokes out the words and lurches his way through the details. At his feet, on the weathered deck, are wet blotches from the tears he can't slap away fast enough. "Brendan died alone in the snow," he sobs. "And it haunts me that the last ten seconds of his life were filled with terror."

As heartbreaking as that last paragraph is, it's really an empowering, beautiful piece that shows a father's dedication to his gay son, and the changes they made together.

Out on the Ice [GQ]


Video, Photos: Stanley Cup Shines in Chicago Gay Pride Parade

Sopel
(photo by hockey broad)

Chicago Blackhawk Brent Sopel gave some extra shine to Chicago's Gay Pride parade yesterday, accompanying the Stanley Cup on its first-ever appearance at any Gay Pride event. Hockey Broad has a nice report.

Watch videos of the Stanley Cup in the parade and a Feast of Fun interview with Sopel, AFTER THE JUMP...

Cup Sopel, who is married with four kids, rode in the parade in honor of Brendan Burke, who died earlier this year in a car accident after breaking barriers in the hockey world by discussing his sexuality in Sports Illustrated with his father, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke

Said Sopel: "When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should. We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from."

In a post-parade interview with Outsports, Sopel said: I had a great time, way better than I expected. It was more (fun) than I expected; it was a blast. Everyone was fun, everyone was dancing. But, at the end of the day, I hope it raised some awareness. I wasn’t here to advocate (anything), but if coming here helps break down walls in the meantime, so be it. I was here for Brendan. I hope he is smiling (from heaven). He was a very unique individual. For him to come out, and then die a few months later …when you’re a parent and you have to bury a kid, it’s just heartbreaking.”

Watch videos of the Stanley Cup in the parade and a Feast of Fun interview with Sopel, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Video, Photos: Stanley Cup Shines in Chicago Gay Pride Parade" »


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, MyGSA.ca, 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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