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NHL's Alex Ovechkin Ready to Play for Team Russia, Won't Talk Anti-Gay Laws or Olympic Boycott

Ovechkin

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who played for Team Russia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, joined the Russian Hockey Federation this week in Moscow to help show off the new hockey jerseys for next year's Games. And while Ovechkin was quite eager to talk to reporters about the the Nike designed jerseys and his desire to see Russia win gold, he seemed less so when questioned about the controversy surrounding Russia's anti-gay 'propaganda' ban.

"[There are] calls to boycott the games?" Ovechkin said. "Our job is to play. I'd rather speak about that."

With all the media coverage around the issue, as well as other NHL stars speaking out about the anti-gay laws, it's hard to believe Ovechkin is completely unaware of the human rights violations going on in his home country... 

[photo via championat.com]


NHL Star Sidney Crosby: 'I Don't Agree' with Russia's Anti-Gay Laws - VIDEO

Crosby

The NHL's top player Sidney Crosby was asked about his views on Russia's anti-gay laws at a press conference for Team Canada on Sunday.

"It's not something we've discussed a whole lot though, but, for me growing up in Canada, my view has always been that way. I think that everyone has an equal right to play and I think we've been supportive of that. With the Olympics and the controversy around that I think those decisions or those laws aren't necessarily something that we might agree with, I don't agree with personally ... their laws and their views, everyone's entitled to those."

Crosby's Team Canada teammate, Nashville Predators star Shea Weber (also a supporter of the You Can Play foundation) said he too disagrees, but echoed Crosby's intent to play in Russia and focus on the game:

"Obviously, the NHLPA and myself are trying to support that cause. Like Sidney said, the way we're brought up is different than how the Russians view it. We're going over there to play hockey and obviously that's what we're going to try and focus on this year throughout our season."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

High-profile Olympic athletes had better start getting their answers prepared because they are all going to be asked about this before the Games begin.

Webber

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Provocative NHL Lick of the Week: VIDEO

2_ott

Buffalo Sabre player Steve Ott grabbed some attention this week when he tried to win a faceoff this week by extending a provocative tongue toward Jeff Halpern of the Montreal Canadiens, Yahoo Sports reports.

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

Meanwhile, when a YouTube commenter took the obvious route, responders scored one for the tagline of the You Can Play project:

Comments

Continue reading "Provocative NHL Lick of the Week: VIDEO" »


NHL Announces Groundbreaking Anti-Homophobia 'Partnership: 'Our Policy is One of Inclusion'

The National Hockey League has partnered with the anti-homophobia You Can Play Project, the Hockey News reports:

Bettman“I’m very proud that the National Hockey League and NHL Players Association are the ones taking this step and breaking new ground,” Philadelphia Flyers scout and YCP co-founder Patrick Burke told THN late Thursday morning. “The big shift is that this is a professional sports league saying not that, ‘We tolerate you,’ not that, ‘We’ll deal with it if we need to,’ but that they’re inviting us in. It’s exciting.”

“Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way,” added NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (pictured). “While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”

The partnership, which was signed as a legally binding document by the three parties this week, will see You Can Play (a) conduct seminars at the NHL’s annual rookie symposium to educate players on gay equality issues; and (b) integrate YCP’s message of respect for all into the league’s Behavioral Health Program by allowing players to confidentially seek counseling or education. As well, YCP will work with the league to create and broadcast public service announcements promoting equality for all.

More at THN...


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